The addition of a new wine shop on Madison Street is further proof that the village is attracting a new type of clientele and with it a new type of entrepreneur.

The folks on either side of the counter in House Red and other destination shops are less interested in bang-for-the-buck sales in which customers lumber out the door with armfuls of inexpensive goods. Instead, both the customer and the seller see value in the experience that happens before the subject of money is even broached. This is one approach to retail sales that can bring in a steady stream of new money.

Another is to mark everything down and hang huge banners proclaiming the cheap prices.

Both have their pros and cons, but the trend setters in Forest Park are establishing themselves in a way that benefits the village as a whole. Customers willing to spend an hour nosing and swishing different wines or learning the ins and outs of the garter stitch are more likely to have the time and disposable income that will benefit other downtown businesses.

Capitalism doesn’t exactly equate to love thy neighbor, but there is a level of cooperation between downtown stores here that should make any business-minded community take notice. The retailers along Madison Street that can see one another as a resource have a better chance at creating a memorable experience for their customers, thus building Forest Park’s reputation as a destination.

Police taking initiative with gangs

It’s clear that the days of territorial disputes between law enforcement agencies are falling by the wayside in favor of a more cooperative and hopefully productive atmosphere.

We were pleased to hear that a number of area police departments are at least talking about pooling their resources to stymie a problem that affects a great number of residents in the near west suburbs: a rise in gang activity. In principle we support this initiative and hope the details can be agreed upon by the participating departments.

But even more promising for Forest Park residents was the initiative shown by the village department six months ago. Chief James Ryan said at Monday’s council meeting that his officers have compiled some 500 names into a database of suspected gang members. In all likelihood a great number of these people do not live in Forest Park, the chief said, which further demonstrates the department’s willingness to think proactively and regionally.

Forest Park is not an island. Regardless of the degree of gang activity that actually takes place within the village, a gang problem in any neighboring community can just as easily be a gang problem in this community.