Community rallies to support 4 Suns Fresh Juice after fire


Nixie Strazza/Daily Senior Staffer

A mural depicting Owner Gabrielle Walker-Aguilar inside 4 Suns Fresh Juice by muralist David Anthony Geary. 4 Suns Fresh Juice is closed for the foreseeable future following a fire on Feb. 3.

Divya Bhardwaj, Assistant City Editor

Known to Evanston residents as a tropical-inspired, wellness-infused getaway, 4 Suns Fresh Juice faces indefinite closure after a devastating fire the morning of Feb. 3. 

But in between consulting with fire inspectors and insurance adjusters, owner Gabrielle Walker-Aguilar said she feels the community is behind her. 

“I’m really, really humbled and grateful for the phone calls and the messages and the love,” Walker-Aguilar said. 

The smoothie and juice bar requires intensive repair to its Main Street location before it can reopen. According to Walker-Aguilar, the fire caused extensive smoke damage, melted the top of the refrigerator and warped plastic items. No injuries were reported. 

Insurance is covering $25,000 of the total cost to restore the building to working condition. Ande Breunig, founder of Our Evanston magazine, organized a GoFundMe to help make up the difference. The GoFundMe’s goal is $30,000, and over $14,000 has been raised so far. 

“Evanston is a community that really rallies to support these women and these businesses and these causes,” she said. 

Breunig has known Walker-Aguilar since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and has frequented 4 Suns since it opened in 2020.

Just two weeks ago, Breunig completed a four-day community detox cleanse — an event the juice bar regularly hosts with a curated menu of smoothies, soups, salads, teas, chia pudding and juices as well as events for participants.

“I knew when I partnered with Gabi to start this GoFundMe that the community would definitely be behind us because she is so loved and so well-known in Evanston,” Breunig said. “I don’t doubt that they’ll continue to rally, and we’re still thinking of new and inventive ways that we could continue to raise money above and beyond the GoFundMe.”

While 4 Suns closed temporarily in late 2021 because of declining sales, it has been a community staple since it reopened last April.

Evanston resident Becky Jackson regularly visits the juice and smoothie bar with her children.

She said they often went last fall, after her 9-year-old daughter got braces and preferred juice and smoothies over solid foods. 

One day, Jackson recalled, her daughter had hardly been able to eat at school and wanted to go to 4 Suns. However, when they arrived, the staff had just put up the closed sign. 

However, despite it being after hours, Jackson said the staff members were happy to make her drink. 

“She just beamed from their kindness and came home all excited about being able to get her smoothie,” Jackson said. 

She added that her daughter was especially upset when she heard about the fire and contributed her own money to the fundraising efforts. 

The warmer months are the busiest for 4 Suns, according to Walker-Aguilar. She hopes to be able to celebrate the reopening with the community this summer. 

Walker-Aguilar said she remains entirely committed to getting the juice and smoothie bar up and running again. 

“After a tragedy like this, where we realize our insurance policy is very low and will not cover the cost, sometimes people will just walk away,” she said. “But this is my dream, this is my passion — this is what I want to do and where I want to be.”

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