30 Resale Shops Close Doors in Chicago in 2013

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National resale association executive director is "shocked" by number of closings.

Everybody has their own reason for closing, said Arlene Meyer, NARTS executive director.

The executive director of the national Association of Resale Professionals, known as NARTS, said this week that she was “shocked” by the number of resale shops that have closed in the Chicago area in 2013.

Arlene Meyer said the closing of 30 thrift, vintage, and upscale resale shops in greater Chicago is “really high” – a number she had not heard of anywhere else in the country.

The greater Chicago area, which includes Lake, Kane, DuPage, Kendall and Will counties, had 500 thrift, vintage and upscale resale shops at the start of 2013, according to Secondhand Chicago, a website that covers the area’s resale shopping scene. As of this week, 30 of those shops had closed their doors.

Meyer, whose organization holds conferences annually to educate resale shop owners on how to successfully run their business, said closings are “part of any business,” but was surprised at how many the Chicago area had.

Nationally, resale shops have been growing at a rate of seven percent a year for several years, according to NARTS. In the Chicago area, even with the closings, Chicago will see a net gain of approximately 20 shops as more than 50 new ones opened during the year.

Meyer said when stores close, they are generally newer – often less than a year old – and shut down because the owners did not choose a good location or did not “educate themselves first” on running a resale store.

In Chicago’s case, a number of very long-time stores closed this year. Among them are Chicago’s Night and Day Vintage on Belmont, which had been in business for 15 years; and Clearbrook Center’s Practically Perfect Resale Shop in Arlington Heights, which closed in January after 28 years.

“Everybody has their own reasons for closing,” Meyer said, adding that a store could lose its lease, there could be a family illness or other matter.

A multitude of reasons played a part in why Chicago area stores closed. The Helping Hand Thrift Store in Brookfield decided not to reopen its doors after it had a fire in April. Moving to online selling only appears to have been behind at least a couple shops closing their brick-and-mortar locations. Two such stores are Factory Vintage in Evanston, which use to have a shop on Chicago Avenue, and Suburban Secrets, which use to have a storefront in the 1100 block of west Belmont.

One suburb that saw a particularly high number of resale closings is Arlington Heights. In addition to Clearbrook’s shop, Mint Boutique in Evergreen Plaza closed after seven years in business and Arlington Resale on Golf Road also closed.

Other shops of note that closed: Selections women’s boutique on North Clybourn and Carlos and Sarah’s Surplus of Options on North Lincoln Avenue, both in Chicago; Sassy Fox in St. Charles; Jobella’s women’s fashions in Geneva and Used in Evanston.

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Michael Muhr
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