Regular shoppers along Madison Street can expect to see some new businesses take root in the coming months, perhaps taking some of the sting out of the ongoing economic turmoil.
Forest Park could see four new businesses in various industries in the early months of 2009. Two of those newcomers are startup companies, one of which will be a vintage clothing shop while the other will specialize in home office furnishings and equipment.
Julia Archer said she hopes to begin catering to stay-at-home workers in early April with her new store, At Work Design. The business will be Archer’s first, and she’s planning to open in a storefront owned by Art Sundry at 7500 Madison. Archer, an Oak Park resident, said she intends to provide furniture, office supplies, artwork and design tips for the home office. For most of her corporate career, Archer said she has worked as a creative director helping to develop brand strategies.
A third company, Icomm Consulting in Oak Park, confirmed that its operation will likely be relocated to Forest Park to allow for an expansion. Icomm works with a broad spectrum of larger companies to help reduce telephone and technology costs and, according to Icomm President Jim Price, business is booming. The firm has outgrown its 4,000-square foot loft in Oak Park and is looking for a new place with about twice as much room. The company has about 30 employees, and that total is likely to grow, said Price.
Price declined to say specifically where his company may relocate to, but that he is negotiating with two property owners in Forest Park. Sources familiar with the negotiations said Icomm could replace a second-floor tenant at 305 Circle.
“It’s something that we’ve heard about,” Price said when asked about that location.
He said he hopes to move the business in late spring.
The fourth prospective newcomer to Forest Park’s retail and dining strip is said to be an Elmwood Park pizza parlor. Several business owners along Madison Street are buzzing about the possible addition that would bring new life to the now vacant restaurant property at 7600 Madison.
Mayor Anthony Calderone said that for six or seven years he has tried to convince the owner of Armand’s Pizzeria to open a restaurant in Forest Park. Nothing has been finalized, said Calderone, but he’s optimistic that the restaurant could open in a few months.
“I definitely can confirm that the landlord and a pizza restaurant from Elmwood Park have spoken,” Calderone said.
It was not clear whether the Elmwood Park location would remain open.
Also in Sundry’s building, next door to At Work Design, customers will see a familiar face from the neighborhood in Daniel Gulla. Gulla currently runs Compucare at 7441 Madison, but by early April hopes to open a new business at 7502 ½ Madison. The new shop will also focus on computer services, but a cell phone retailer will be added to the mix.
According to Gulla, Compucare will be closed.
Heels, a trendy spot for shoes and accessories at 7423 Madison, is relocating to a smaller, recently rehabbed storefront next to Deedee & Edee. The shotgun-style property recently played host to a temporary art gallery, and is also owned by Sundry.
Another longstanding business, All Star Video, recently announced it will be closing soon. Located in the Hain Building with Circle Theatre, All Star Video owner Frank Romero has hung a sign in the window announcing that he is going out of business after some 23 years.