Published Jan. 27, 2011
Retail face of downtown gets
Storefronts starting to fill up as local
economy sends signals of growing confidence
The start of 2011 has
witnessed some fresh arrivals and new beginnings in
Hinsdale’s central business district, along with a
couple of tough departures.
J-Bees at Eleven East was opened late last year by Hinsdale native
Bouchard said she saw a need for a store with fashionable men’s
clothes in the downtown.
“So we’re hoping to fill a void in the market,” she said.
The store’s merchandise is actually half men’s, half women’s, with
a “denim-based” concept. It offers trendy jean brands
such as Seven for All Mankind and Diesel as well as
familiar names like Levi’s and Ralph Lauren.
“The clothing has more of an urban feel,” Bouchard said.
The store has been getting good foot traffic so far, she said, and
she expects business to rise with the coming spring
“It’s nice to see that the (downtown) is starting to fill up. We’re
hoping that the store takes off and that people like
it,” Bouchard said.
At Ooh La La, owner Mary Anne Spidalette and daughter Ann Sobczak
have brought their Butterfly Garden concept from
Clarendon Hills to Hinsdale.
Their big draw is parties for girls ages 4 to 13. They range from
scrapbooking parties to spa gatherings, where girls soak
their feet, put cucumber slices on their eyes and have
their hair styled. The shop also offers small gift
“We’re looking to serve the older tweens,” Spidalette said.
Spidalette said they were excited to move into town and believe
they found a magical spot.
“We love this location. We’re really happy being in Hinsdale.
Traffic’s been great,” she said.
Jamie Polowy, photographer for Classic Kids, said the company was
compelled to open up a branch in Hinsdale after
welcoming a number customers from town at their Winnetka
and Lincoln Park locations.
“The time was right for us to branch out and add a new studio for
the mix,” she said. “It was kind of a hike for those
clients to get out to our studio.”
The studio specializes in black and white portraits of children,
families and pets, Polowy said.
“Our signature is we still shoot film and do custom-made portraits
of our customers,” she said. “It’s museum-quality work
that will decorate their home and become heirlooms that
they can keep for generations.”
Polowy, who will be the head photographer at the Hinsdale studio
when it opens in March, said she looks forward to
introducing Classic Kids to the village and surrounding
“We hope to reach out to the clients that we haven’t met yet who
would love our work. We are so excited to join
Hinsdale,” she said.
Firenze To Go is celebrating its 10-year anniversary in Hinsdale
with a new home on Washington Street in the heart of the
downtown business district.
Store manager Erin Swan said timing played a big role in the move,
but it was also part of the vision to expand from the
former site on Chestnut Avenue.
“Our lease was up, and we really wanted to get into a bigger space
with more room for people to come and sit in,” she said.
The store features more tables for eat-in diners than before. The
familiar packaged pasta dishes and salads are on
display, but customers can also get hot pasta entrees or
pizza by the slice.
Swan said the response has been great both from loyal customers and
“We had many people come in and express gratitude that we hadn’t
closed,” she said.
When Jasmine Martinez was transferred from Spex’s Hinsdale store a
couple of years ago, she didn’t expect to return.
But she said she’s excited to be back, now as store manager, as the First
Street optical and eyewear store prepares to move into
larger surroundings on Washington Street.
“It’s a big move for us. It’s huge, and we’re really excited,” she
The expanded space will be able to accommodate state-of-the-art
optical equipment and stylish displays to showcase their
fashionable frames and exclusive product lines.
“We’re adding new lines, too. We’re growing,” Martinez said.
Lumiere, Spex’s outlet for sunglasses, is opening right next door
to offer customers more services in one convenient
Martinez said the store is scheduled to open Feb. 8 or 9, with a
grand opening set for March 11.
store, restaurant depart
Hinsdale will bid farewell to
nearly a century of central business district history as
Schoen’s prepares to close its doors Jan. 31.
Jeanie Janes said she has enjoyed the outpouring of support she and
her staff have received as news of the closing spread.
“It has been great to see a parade of customers that we’ve known
over the years. We’re sad because we have had just a
wonderful time,” she said.
Janes joined the store as a buyer in 1990 when Schoen’s was at its
longtime 48 S. Washington St. location. She bought the
women’s clothing store in 1998 and moved to it 120 S.
Washington a couple of years ago.
But Janes does not chalk up the store’s struggles to the relocation
or parking issues.
“It’s just been the recession,” she said matter-of-factly. “It just
came to a point where it just wouldn’t work.”
She said she takes comfort in knowing Schoen’s helped make shopping
a fun experience for customers and she has enjoyed being
active in the Hinsdale Chamber of Commerce.
“I’m not sure how much everyone in the community realizes how much
they do,” Janes said, referring to the many events
throughout the year that the chamber sponsors.
A resident of Hinsdale, she looks forward to seeing the downtown
thrive again and be able to have her coffee in the
coffee shop and not on the run.
New Yolk New Yolk closed last week in sudden fashion. The eatery
opened in the old Hinsdale Theater about a year ago,
serving breakfast and lunch. An attempt to reach owner
Peter Verros was unsuccessful.
Todd Naccarato said there’s been
a lot going on in the building at the southwest corner
of First Street and Garfield Avenue.
“We just finished renovating the inside at the very end of last
year,” he said. “We opened them up so they show a lot
better (to prospective tenants).”
With two spaces of 5,000 square feet each, Naccarato said they
could be converted into smaller floor plans to
accommodate tenants’ needs.
With the economy still on the mend, Naccarato said he is being
patient in identifying national or regional retailers
who might be interested.
“Activity has been kind of quiet,” he said. “I still believe we’re
probably six months away from one or two of the spaces
being occupied. We feel that they’ll be looking for new
opportunities later this year.”
Downtown Hinsdale welcomes
several new stores as well as a couple of longtime
Hinsdale businesses with new addresses.
11 E. First St.
Ooh La La
9 E. First St.
Classic Kids Photography
(opening in March)
28 E. Hinsdale Ave.
45 S. Washington St.
Spex (opening Feb. 8-9)
104 Washington St.