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Hinsdale, Illinois |

Published Nov. 18, 2010                                                        

New stores open in town, more on the way

By Pamela Lannom

   When it comes to business in town, the village has much to be thankful for this year.
   “It’s much better than it was a year ago,” Tim Scott, the village’s economic development director, said of the business climate. “The amount of interest in terms of people who are calling us is up. When we attended the recent ICSC (International Council of Shopping Centers) trade show talking to people there, they were more receptive to the idea of another location. A year ago you would talk to someone and they were not only not expanding, they were typically retrenching.”
   Among new businesses that have opened in recent months (see sidebar) is The Green Goddess. Hinsdale resident Elyce Rembos has had a great response since she opened Sept. 1.
   “It’s been really wonderful,” she said. “I think people have been very supportive. They’ve been very happy to have a new store in town.”
   Green Goddess carries high fashion products that customers can feel good about purchasing. Rembos chooses suppliers who are trying to give back by supporting fair trade or environmental or charitable organizations. A line of hat, scarves and mittens in the shop is made from recycled sweaters. She sells Blue Q soap and gum, which carry funny sayings and are made by workers with disabilities. Another line features belt buckles crafted out of reclaimed metals.
   Some people think eco-friendly products can’t qualify as high fashion.
   “I think they’re pleasantly surprised when they come in,” Rembos said.
   Residents also have been pleased to have a toy store back in town, according to Laurie Kherani, owner of Learning Express Toys. The shop officially opened its doors Nov. 11 and has leased the C. Foster Toys space through Jan. 31.
   “Space wise, it’s humongous — it’s too much for us on a permanent basis,” said Kherani, who also owns a Learning Express store in Countryside. She’s working with Scott to find a smaller location in town.
   “Those who know don’t want us to go in January,” she said. “Everybody else is just excited to have a toy store here.”
   Learning Express carries “a little bit of everything,” Kherani said, with an emphasis on toys that spark creative or imaginative play in children from infancy to age 10 or 12.
   Several new stores also should be opening soon.
   Kathy and Ray Zuniga have purchased A Taste of Vino and plan to re-open the wine shop as Village Cellar.
   “He’s getting real close to opening his doors,” Scott said. “He’s just resolving some last minute build-out things.”
   A Clarendon Hills business plans to open a party/retail shop in the old Bugs and Kisses space east of Washington on
First Street. The owners operated a similar business called Butterfly Garden in Clarendon Hills for six years.
   Air Fitness will open a new location in the old Lori’s Shoes space, also east of Washington on
First Street. The company carries fitness equipment and nutritional supplements and offers personal training.
   The former Lilly Pulitzer space on First Street, which is owned by Jay Javors, also has generated some interest.
   “It’s a big space and it’s a beautiful space but it’s not for everybody because of its size,” Scott said.
   Existing businesses seem to be having a better year as well. This year’s sales tax receipts have been higher than last year’s for 11 straight months.
   “That’s obviously very encouraging,” Scott said. “We’re not where we were pre-recession. We’re off 5, 6 percent or so from our peak, which is still better than we would have expected.”
   Sales tax receipts for 2010-11 total $1.35 million, which is $109,190 or about 9 percent above last year’s receipts. The biggest increase was in May, when receipts were up more than 17 percent. The village receives tax money three months after the sale, so those receipts were from February.
   Sales tax receipts were up 3.6 percent last December, and Scott is hoping for an even bigger increase this year.
   “The holiday shopping season is definitely extremely important for the village and obviously the merchants,” Scott said. “We’re hoping that some of the general news about the economy starting to come back will encourage residents and visitors to shop in town.”

New to town

Bien Assorti
Gateway Square
777 N. York Road
Salon offering manicures, pedicures and waxing

The Face Loft
44 Harrison Place
Features facial treatments that are more clinical than cosmetic in nature

108 W. Chestnut St.
Converts video, film, slides and photos to DVDs and sells photo prints and gifts

The Green Goddess
52 S. Washington St.
Features vintage and new fashion jewelry, accessories, home goods and more

Kumon Learning Center
Gateway Square
777 N. York Road
Offers after school math and reading enrichment programs

La Cuisine Catering
19 W. First St.
Full-service event planning company

Lashe Spot
6 W. Hinsdale Ave.
Salon dedicated exclusively to eyelashes and eyebrows

Learning Express Toys
36 E. Hinsdale Ave.
Features educational toys and games that pique a child’s curiosity, creativity and sense of discovery

18 E. First St.
Contemporary sushi and Japanese restaurant open for lunch and dinner





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