Published September 10, 2009
Hinsdale draws merchants from other
Many store owners found this a perfect
place to expand, others decided to relocate here
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
“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.”