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Hinsdale, Illinois |

Published September 10, 2009                                                         

Hinsdale draws merchants from other towns
Many store owners found this a perfect place to expand, others decided to relocate here

  By Pamela Lannom

   When Hinsdale residents Toni Gentleman and Courtney Waters decided to start a kids clothing store, they opened in a neighboring community. When they had the chance to move Bugs and Kisses to the former home of Littlest Offspring 19 months ago, they jumped at it.
   “We love this location,” Gentleman said of their First Street store. “This was the location we wanted because this has been a kids store forever.”
   Both women have children in Hinsdale schools and a lot of friends in town, which makes it a great place to do business.
   “The people are really supportive of us and I think all the stores in town,” Gentleman said.
   Shop owners here also support each other, she said, from working together on an event to offering a simple referral.
   “It’s nice to be able to tell people to go to Tigers and Tulips to get your shoes,” she said.
   The right location becoming available at the right time helped bring The Fruit Store to Hinsdale.
   “We had a lot of customers that shopped Western Springs that were from Hinsdale, and we figured, well, there’s still a lot more people out that way and the surrounding areas west,” said Mick Yurchak, who co-owns both locations with his brother, Bob, and a gentleman named Al Enzbigilis. “We figured we could draw enough people in the surrounding communities of Hinsdale and people from Hinsdale and it worked out.”
   When the gas station property at the corner of Lincoln and First streets became available, it seemed the perfect spot.
   “It was just timing,” John Yurchak said. “A freestanding building with a parking lot was just priceless.”
   Hinsdale is a perfect fit for The Fruit Store, whose philosophy is to provide high-quality produce and unbeatable service, John Yurchak said.
   “There is no other town like Hinsdale,” he said. “This is unique.”

Born on the North Shore
After opening stores in Lincoln Park and Winnetka, Meg Carroll and her husband, Michael, knew they wanted to open a Bedside Manor in Hinsdale.
   “Once we made the decision to really expand into the Chicago market with multiple stores, it was in our radar the entire time,” said Meg Carroll, who grew up in Winnetka. “It’s just such a wonderful community. I think we went to the North Shore because we lived closer to that store and we were familiar with the area, so that was the easy one for us to choose.”
   The two have been very happy with the Hinsdale location over the past nine years.
   “It’s just such a nice town and such a destination and perfect for the merchandise that we carry and our type of store,” she said. The downtown offers a nice blend of some corporate chain stores and unique shops like Bedside Manor, she said.
   They also looked at Naperville and Oak Park as possible sites west of Chicago, but they didn’t measure up.
   “Really our No. 1 choice was Hinsdale,” she said.
   Eyeland of St. Johns — now known as Spex — also started out on the North Shore as a mom and pop shop.
   Spex owner Rob Rich’s dad had an optometry practice in Highland Park and his mom and sister worked there, too. Rich was working at Deloitte.
   “I was there and looking for something to do, working at the Highland Park store evenings and weekends, helping them run the business,” he said.
   When Rich decided to build on his father’s business, he first expanded to Naperville, then Hinsdale.
   “I am friends with Mark Odegaard and I had been to Mark’s for a party,” Rich said. Odegaard lived above the laundry and cleaners at
110 S. Washington St.
   “I was here and I said, ‘Wow, this is a great downtown.’ That’s years before I opened the store — probably five years before I opened the store,” he said.
   His concept of opening a high service, high fashion, high end boutique seemed to fit with Hinsdale’s demographics. And there was less competition here, he said.
   “It litters the North Shore,” he said. “There’s high end optical stores that run the gamut.”
   The decision to come here was a good one, Rich said.
   “Right out of the box I had to hire somebody, which I wasn’t expecting to do, which was great,” he said. “We really haven’t looked back.”






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