By Maria Maxham
In 2012, Madison Street Shoes opened at 7500 Madison St., the corner of Madison and Beloit Avenue in Forest Park. Owned by Craig Cohen, it featured quality women's shoes, and later brought in accessories and comfortable and stylish clothing as well. The next year, Cohen opened Jayne across the street at 7423 Madison St. Now, Jayne has moved from the north side of Madison to the south side, replacing Madison Street Shoes.
The decision to close Madison Street Shoes and shift Jayne to that location makes sense, says Cohen, because Madison Street "doesn't support two stores," especially since they're carrying the same brands of clothing and shoes. With five other Jayne stores in neighboring suburbs, Cohen wants to focus on the Jayne brand, named after his independent and stylish grandmother. The decision to move into the 7500 Madison St. location instead of keeping Jayne at its previous location was because the former has a basement, which provides storage that the other location doesn't have. And being on the corner provides a better opportunity for sidewalk sales, says Cohen.
Cohen, who has been in the shoe business since 1997, opened Craig's Shoes in Berwyn in 2007. When he decided to expand, he looked at Oak Park, but saw a market already brimming with shoe stores. Forest Park was an excellent choice to open a store because he was seeking a "stronger financial demographic." Madison Street appealed to him because of its downtown atmosphere, and he wanted his new store to be close to Oak Park and River Forest, in addition to being near his Berwyn store.
By the end of October, Cohen plans to have slowly redone the interior of the store at 7500 Madison to more closely match the look and feel of the other Jayne boutiques. Although Jayne shops feature a variety of clothing brands and accessories, appealing to women of all ages, shoes will still be central to the business. Jayne stores are, he says, "shoe driven boutiques."
Cohen is also looking forward to seeing the Forest Park Chamber of Commerce continue supporting a vibrant downtown.