Promotions at Six Corners | 6/18/2019

Collectiv, 5743 W. Irving Park Rd., is clearing out their candle inventory to make room for brand new scents! So, they are offering all wood-wick candles for 50% off while supplies last! 

Fannie's Cafe, 5040 W. Montrose Ave., will give you 10% off catering orders if you mention the Six Corners newsletter! Also, bring in a receipt from Lake Effect Brewing (now open on Sundays) and receive 10% off at Fannie's. Their brunch is BYOB! 

Fantasy Costumes, 4065 N. Milwaukee Ave is offering 25-50% off country and western related costumes perfect for the Lake Shake Country Music Fest. Some exclusions apply. Sale ends Sunday, June 23rd.   

Fischman Public House, 4058 N. Milwaukee Ave.: Bring your same-day receipt to Fischman's after you've eaten at frunchroom and get 10% off their bottles & cans. Valid Wednesday through Sunday.

frunchroom, 4042 N. Milwaukee Ave: Get 10% off Wednesdays-Sundays when you bring your own bottles/cans from Fischman Bottle Shop.

Grand Vein Specialists, 4952 W. Irving Park Rd., offers 10% off Botox and fillers every Friday! Their hours are 1pm-6pm and they're located at 4952 W. Irving Park Rd. Contact them at 773-942-6141 for more information or to set up an appointment. 

Lake Effect Brewing, 4727 W. Montrose Ave., is now open Sundays. Bring a brunch receipt from Fannie's Cafe on Sunday and receive 10% off on your purchase. 

Prism Optical, 3594 N. Milwaukee Ave., is highlighting OVVO frames in June! Purchase any OVVO frame from them and get free single vision polycarbonate lenses with A/R (reg. price $198). Mention you saw this deal in the Six Corners newsletter. Cannot be used in combination with your insurance. Their newest blog post is all about customizing your sunglasses

Te'ase Tea Shoppe, 5755 W. Irving Park Rd., holds Happy Hour Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 3-6pm when freshly brewed hot or iced teas are half off. On Tea'se Tuesdays, you can buy one get one half off of freshly brewed hot or iced tea! 

Wildlight Yoga, 4140 N. Milwaukee Ave. is offering a New Student Special. For only $28, get two weeks of unlimited classes. This is for new students only upon first visit! Students may apply toward purchase of membership upon completion of two weeks. Available at their website

Local Soap Maker Lends Craft to Autistic Community - Creates “Spectrum” Soap

Chicago, IL – Local Soap Maker Sam Davis has devoted his craft to improving the self care and carbon footprint of the customers he serves at his Northwest Side Chicago Soap Studio and Shop, Distinct Bath and Body.

One of Sam’s earliest memories is of his mother soothing his allergy and eczema-irritated skin with clean and simple ingredients like pure cocoa butter. “The scent of cocoa butter still reminds me of her and brings me such comfort.” However, Sam has learned that not all ingredients and scents are created equal and each person responds differently, both physically and emotionally, to the products he makes.

“I started out with a dozen recipes and because of what I’ve learned over the years about personal tolerances and preferences, I’ve expanded to over 70 varieties of soap alone (he also carries body butters, bath bomb and other self care products).”

Sam has taken on one of his greatest challenges in creating, “Spectrum”, a soap he created specifically for individuals on the Autism Spectrum, with sensory issues or incredibly sensitive skin. “All of my products are created with all-natural products to avoid irritants but this is something different, and it’s also deeply personal.”

Sam was first intimately exposed to Autism ten years ago when one of his sister’s children was diagnosed, closely followed by his nephew’s son. Soon after he noticed that Autism had touched the lives of many extended family, friends and neighbors, some of whom had children diagnosed or even themselves, receiving the diagnosis as an adult. “I noticed how much sensory and physical discomfort affected this population, i.e. if I have a minor skin rash, yes, it’s annoying but that is it. However, to someone with sensory issues, it can be excruciating and that immense discomfort effects their mood and behavior.” Sam continues, “The same holds true with scent, if a scent aggravates someone on the Spectrum, it may turn their entire day upside down.” This made Sam realize he could make a contribution, in his very own way to this community, and that is how “Spectrum” was born.

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Sam worked with his sister, now deeply involved with the Autistic community on the formulation of the soap. They did a lot of surveying and research on scents, beneficial ingredients, allergens, irritants and even consulted a Naturopath in order to keep the soap, “Clean and uncomplicated, yet effective.”

The soap’s scent, derived from therapeutic grade essential oils, has a mild lavender mint scent said to promote calm, comfort and ease cognitive stress. The formulation further contains oils like coconut and olive plus magnesium known to help regulate mood and sleep, and can be absorbed transdermally. Finally, pure indigo powder is added and the soap’s soft blue hue is a nod to the color that has come to be synonymous with Autism awareness.

“I know the term ‘labor of love’ is cliche, but creating soap is my labor and this soap has been a true extension of the love I have for my craft and for people I love who are on the Spectrum.”

“Spectrum” is now available for sale online at www.distinctbath.com or at Distinct Bath and Body located in the Six Corners Shopping District at 40406 N. Milwaukee Avenue, and our phone number is 773-930-4420.

Promotions at Six Corners | 6/11/2019

Collectiv, 5743 W. Irving Park Rd., is clearing out their candle inventory to make room for brand new scents! So, they are offering all wood-wick candles for 50% off while supplies last! 

Fannie's Cafe, 5040 W. Montrose Ave., will give you 10% off catering orders if you mention the Six Corners newsletter! Also, bring in a receipt from Lake Effect Brewing (now open on Sundays) and receive 10% off at Fannie's. Their brunch is BYOB! 

Fantasy Costumes, 4065 N. Milwaukee Ave is offering 25-50% off Select Pokemon costumes and accessories for The Pokemon Go Fest. Some exclusions apply. Sale ends Sunday, June 16th. 

Fischman Public House, 4058 N. Milwaukee Ave.: Bring your same-day receipt to Fischman's after you've eaten at frunchroom and get 10% off their bottles & cans. Valid Wednesday through Sunday.

frunchroom, 4042 N. Milwaukee Ave: Get 10% off Wednesdays-Sundays when you bring your own bottles/cans from Fischman Bottle Shop.

Grand Vein Specialists, 4952 W. Irving Park Rd., offers 10% off Botox and fillers every Friday! Their hours are 1pm-6pm and they're located at 4952 W. Irving Park Rd. Contact them at 773-942-6141 for more information or to set up an appointment. 

Lake Effect Brewing, 4727 W. Montrose Ave., is now open Sundays. Bring a brunch receipt from Fannie's Cafe on Sunday and receive 10% off on your purchase. 

Prism Optical, 3594 N. Milwaukee Ave., is highlighting OVVO frames in June! Purchase any OVVO frame from them and get free single vision polycarbonate lenses with A/R (reg. price $198). Mention you saw this deal in the Six Corners newsletter. Cannot be used in combination with your insurance. Read their newest blog post here.

Te'ase Tea Shoppe, 5755 W. Irving Park Rd., holds Happy Hour Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 3-6pm when freshly brewed hot or iced teas are half off. On Tea'se Tuesdays, you can buy one get one half off of freshly brewed hot or iced tea! 

Wildlight Yoga, 4140 N. Milwaukee Ave. is offering a New Student Special. For only $28, get two weeks of unlimited classes. This is for new students only upon first visit! Students may apply toward purchase of membership upon completion of two weeks. Available at their website

Promotions at Six Corners | 6/4/2019

Collectiv, 5743 W. Irving Park Rd., is clearing out their candle inventory to make room for brand new scents! So, they are offering all wood-wick candles for 50% off while supplies last! 

Fannie's Cafe, 5040 W. Montrose Ave., will give you 10% off catering orders if you mention the Six Corners newsletter! Also, bring in a receipt from Lake Effect Brewing (now open on Sundays) and receive 10% off at Fannie's. Their brunch is BYOB! 

Fantasy Costumes, 4065 N. Milwaukee Ave: Memorial Day Sale: Just in time for Spring Awakening and the Naked Bike Ride, Fantasy is offering 25-50% off costumes and accessories throughout the store. Some exclusions apply. Sale ends Sunday, June 9th. 

Fischman Public House, 4058 N. Milwaukee Ave.: Bring your same-day receipt to Fischman's after you've eaten at frunchroom and get 10% off their bottles & cans. Valid Wednesday through Sunday.

frunchroom, 4042 N. Milwaukee Ave: Get 10% off Wednesdays-Sundays when you bring your own bottles/cans from Fischman Bottle Shop.

Grand Vein Specialists, 4952 W. Irving Park Rd., offers 10% off Botox and fillers every Friday! Their hours are 1pm-6pm and they're located at 4952 W. Irving Park Rd. Contact them at 773-942-6141 for more information or to set up an appointment. 

Lake Effect Brewing, 4727 W. Montrose Ave., is now open Sundays. Bring a brunch receipt from Fannie's Cafe on Sunday and receive 10% off on your purchase. 

Prism Optical, 3594 N. Milwaukee Ave., is highlighting OVVO frames in June! Purchase any OVVO frame from them and get free single vision polycarbonate lenses with A/R (reg. price $198). Mention you saw this deal in the Six Corners newsletter. Cannot be used in combination with your insurance. Read their newest blog post here.

Te'ase Tea Shoppe, 5755 W. Irving Park Rd., holds Happy Hour Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 3-6pm when freshly brewed hot or iced teas are half off. On Tea'se Tuesdays, you can buy one get one half off of freshly brewed hot or iced tea! 

Wildlight Yoga, 4140 N. Milwaukee Ave. is offering a New Student Special. For only $28, get two weeks of unlimited classes. This is for new students only upon first visit! Students may apply toward purchase of membership upon completion of two weeks. Available at their website

This Place Matters | Dale Harris & The Sears Key Shop

THE SMALLEST SIDE OF SEARS

by Dale Harris

SHOP NO. 1

In 1952, the Six Corners Sears consisted of only the original building (which had been opened in 1938). This stretched halfway along Cicero from Irving Park Road toward Cuyler. On the southeast corner of Cicero and Cuyler was the Sears Auto Center and behind that was a vinyl canopy covered walkway which led from the main Sears store to Cuyler.

In September of that year, on the East side of the end of the walkway, the Cole National Corp. constructed a small six-sided wooden shack which was to be the new Sears Key Shop. This building was small; someone standing inside of it could stretch out his arms and touch opposite sides of the building at the same time. It was far too small for customers to enter so they would stand outside to have their keys made through a window. The name of the original manager of this key shop is lost to history.

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By November of 1969 the key shop had a new manager, Earl Mosley, and I started to work for him as a part-time employee. The tiny shop had three key machines, two large revolving key blank racks and two 2” x 12” boards about 14” inches long that hung from the ceiling and held hundreds of precut Corbin skeleton keys. Six months later, I left to manage the Lawrence Ave. Sears Key Shop.

SHOP NO. 2

In 1972, Sears decided to expand its store by adding an annex to it and building a new Auto Center on the other side of Cuyler. This expanded the Sears building along Cicero all the way to Cuyler and therefore over the location of the key shop. This required that the key shop be replaced by a new one and that was built again by Cole National Corp. on the Southwest corner of Cuyler and Kilpatrick.

The building was supposed to be built as an 8’ x 12’ brick building with the front 12’ side facing the intersection. There were to be 2 doors on the opposing 8’ sides. The plan was for the size of the building to be measured on the inside but those plans were lost in translation somehow so it was built 8’ x 12” measured on the outside. Since this was not noticed until after the building was constructed, the only place to make up the lost space was the employee area. So, from the back of the front counter to the end of the key blank hooks mounted on the rear wall this ended up being only 21” by 80”, a very narrow space. This shop opened in May of 1973 and I was transferred to be its new manager.

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This was the now the highest grossing key shop in the company and it had on average 800 customers a week. It was so busy that customers had to take a number to be waited on and we usually had two employees working at the same time which was unheard of.

In 1974, I hired the first woman to work in a key shop, a high school student named Ellen McDonald. Up until then, most of the managers of the key shops were either retired locksmiths, retired hardware store folks, or former part-time key shop employees like me. These were always men who then hired high school and college-aged boys to work for them. Having Ellen work in my shop was so strange to people that folks from other shops would travel up to 20 miles from their shops just to see Ellen cut keys. Customers were also put off by this and if she was working with me, they would often ask that I make their keys instead of Ellen, and strangely it was female customers that were most likely to do this. I usually refused; Ellen was as qualified as anyone else to make keys.

SHOP NO. 3

In 1978, after I had been complaining for years about the size of the key shop, some company executives from the home office were in town and decided to drop by my shop to see for themselves. This was on a Friday a week before Thanksgiving that year. After looking things over, they said to me, “This is really small, but there is no way that we can justify the expense of making it larger even though it is doing so well.”

Two days later, on Sunday, I was sitting at home watching the Bears play when I received a call at around 2pm. My employee was on the line and told me a woman had driven through the front wall of the shop and that I needed to get there right away. When I arrived, I saw fire and police vehicles surrounding my shop and a tow truck pulling out the front of a Toyota from the inside of the shop. I was informed that the key shop was now structurally unsound and would need to be torn down.

On Monday, I called my regional manager who then called the home office. I was informed that my key shop would be rebuilt and that until then they would rent a construction office trailer to use as a key shop. Then my boss said to me, “You know if this had happened at 2:00 in the morning, and no one had gotten hurt, you would have been fired.” I am still not sure that he was joking.

Since everyone in the home office was busy with the Christmas selling season, they asked if I could come up with a plan for the new building and if I could find a contractor to build it. I agreed.

The trailer arrived on Wednesday and was placed next to the old shop. We were allowed to remove what we needed from the destroyed shop so that we could open up our trailer shop.

A trailer similar to the one used for the key shop

A trailer similar to the one used for the key shop

SHOP NO. 4

I designed the new shop to be twice the size of the old one—12’ x 16’—and in order to accommodate this in the same location, it was to now be square with the corner of Cuyler and Kilpatrick. Sears would not allow me to take away any of the parking spots near the shop.

After around eight months of construction, the new shop was ready and in July of 1979 we moved from the trailer into the new building. It was wonderful—the employee area was now 7’ x 7’ and if two people were working together, we could actually both inhale at the same time now.

Everything from the old shop fit into the new one. In addition, we also obtained an engraving machine and gifts to sell. Cole National had now changed its name to Things Remembered and gifts were now the major part of their sales, not keys. Since 1975, the company had also opened another shop inside Sears that mainly sold gifts and a few keys. I did the opposite of that—I sold mainly keys and a few gifts.

Unlike the old shop that had a flat front window, the one in the new shop was two feet deep with sliding glass doors on the inside. We used that as a display for the new gift merchandise. From the beginning of the year until November, we were always the #1 shop in the region, but after Thanksgiving, some other gift shops would overcome my lead in sale due to selling many Christmas gifts. However, since keys were more profitable, my shop generally won in profit for the entire year.

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SHOP NO. 5

In the summer of 1997, I was called into my Sears manager’s office and was informed of the plans to create what would be called the Market Place at Six Corners. He let me know that the key shop would have to be torn down, but that it would not happen until next year.

I immediately called the home office and my boss to pass this information on to them and they let me know that due to the profitability of my key shop, it would certainly be replaced. Over the next eight months, I would call to ask for updates only to be pawned off with a, “Don’t worry, we got this.” Finally, in April of 1998, I went into the Sears manager’s office and asked him to give me a concrete date that I would have to vacate the key shop. He told me that he did not know but it was probably still several months in the future. I told him that my company wasn’t making plans for the replacement of my key shop because Sear’s had not given them a date and they were putting it off. So, we agreed that May 15th (three weeks from then) would be the date.

When I called my home office to give them the news, there was panic in their voices. They insisted there as nothing that they could do in just three weeks, to which I responded that they had been apparently been working on plans for eight months. They confessed that they had done nothing and had not even talked to Sears about it so they would have to get back to me.

Three days later, they called me back with the bad news—nothing could be done and I would have to close the shop. I asked for their permission to talk to Sears and they consented, seeing as they had nothing to lose.

Fortunately, Sears itself was going through a huge transformation for the new shopping center and was chock full of construction workers and their managers. I brought up the key shop to them and they told me they had been instructed by Sears not to lose anything in the construction, which included the key shop. So, we sat down and they suggested that a storefront be carved in the south wall of the Auto Center which would then be converted into the key shop. Apparently, cost was not to be our issue—Since this was a move mandated by Sears, they would pay for the construction and all my company would have to do was fill the shop. In three days, the construction company and I had a plan for my company, which was subsequently approved.

Since the Sears plans required that my current shop be torn down several months before the new one would be ready, my company rented another trailer such as the one I had set up shop in previously. Once again, it was time to move.

SHOP NO. 6

In September of 1998, I was informed I could move into my new key shop—Key Shop #6. My company supported me by providing all new counters, key walls, and just about anything I asked for while the Sears construction team took care of installing everything. My employees and I planned our move out so perfectly that by the time Sears opened up in the morning, the brand, new key shop opened up on time too.

The new key shop was enormous; the main sales area was 28’ x 12’ with a 9’ x 9’ work room in the back. The front wall was all glass 10’ high and 28’ wide so there was an unobstructed view into the key shop from the parking lot. Instead of a large display window I now had five showcases. At this time, my company had also closed all the inside gift shops so the showcases were filled with locks for sale. My employees referred to the key shop as “The Palace of Keys”. We had five different types of key machines and almost 2,000 different key blanks. It was almost impossible to find a key we could not make.

Fun fact: the reason my old shop needed to be closed during this construction was so that it would no longer take up two parking spaces, however when they realigned the parking near my old shop used to be, they ended up with the same number of spaces. Additionally, to keep people from parking up against the new shop’s door, they put a concrete pad in front of it which was larger than the old shop. In effect, Sears spent $40,000 to lose two parking spots.

Over the course of a few years, things at Sears changed. As stated above, all of our shops inside of Sears had closed, leaving only the 45 outside key shops. This had happened because Sears decided to move all of our inside stores to areas with nearly no foot traffic, upon which the stores depended. My new key shop would be the last constructed at Sears.

During the 70s, my weekly customer count had declined from 800 to 500—the number of weekly customers I was receiving when this new shop opened up. Even so, the first two years of this new shop resulted in sales far beyond previous records. However, from this point on, sales and customer counts steadily declined. At one point, my boss—quite the motivator—told us that a lack of customers was not an excuse for a lack of sales.

SHOP NO. 6A

My Shops 2, 3, and 4 were in wonderful locations right outside the main entrance to Sears where most people who walked into Sears had to walk by it and thus, stopped by on impulse purchases. This new shop was off to the side within the Auto Center, far from pedestrian traffic. In the years following our opening, I would look outside the windows at the customers streaming in and out of Sears and wish that there were a way to get them to walk over to the key shop. Then, I had a thought.

In 1998, when I was closing the inside key shops, the one at 79th Street had an old abandoned outside key shop in the parking lot. I had the idea that if we took out the keys, machines, and a few counters from the inside shop, we could reopen the outside shop. That particular Sears and the key shop employees there were up for the idea, so we had taken the equipment from the inside shop to the outside shop instead of throwing them in the trash. Later, when I gave my company the idea, they passed, because it would take about $1,000 to implement. However, this meant that there was an entire key shop just sitting idly over there.

My new idea was to go to the 79th Street Sears, retrieve the equipment from there, and on a nice summer Saturday, to use it to open an outside key shop directly in front of my Sears store’s main entrance. If I could not get customers to come to me, I would go to them. It worked out much better than I had expected and the sales were great. Even though the main shop was also open, the new shop won hands down.

When I reported what I had done to my boss, he was far from happy since I had not gotten permission from him beforehand (even though I had not cost the company a dime—I retrieved the equipment using my brother’s trailer on my own time and I used a vacation day to make it happen). I asked him what he would have said if I had asked for permission and he said, “Of course I would have said ‘No’.”

I quickly replied, “That’s why I didn’t ask. When can I do it again.” To which I replied, “That’s why I didn’t ask. When can I do it again?” His first reaction was ‘Never’ but when I told him that I had almost tripled sales from a normal Saturday, he relented and gave me permission to do this once a month and only on Saturdays that Sears had big sales going on.

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Over the next couple of years the new shop just did better and better until my boss said that I could run my pop-up key shop whenever I damn well pleased. However, this was slightly inconvenient for me. The counters, merch, and equipment were stored across Cuyler in the second floor of the Auto Center on three pallets, which meant I had to find a pallet jack to move all of it to Sears to set up. The assembly took over an hour, as did disassembly at the end of the day, not to mention the heavy lifting required. None of this was paid work—the company would only pay me while the mobile shop was open to customers, not during setup or teardown.

SHOP NO. 6B

Due to the aforementioned complications, I spent the next two months building a single box on wheels that would hold everything needed for the mobile key shop. Since it was so compact, Sears allowed me to store it behind the loading dock of the main building. When I wanted to set it up, it only took me five minutes to go from the back room to waiting on customers outside. When it was too cold outside, Sears allowed me to open the mobile shop right inside the main Sears entrance, so I could be open year round.

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THE LAST CHAPTER

By 2014, things were really getting bad. Of the original 45 outside key shops, only 16 were still open nationwide. My customer count had gone from 500 per week in 1998 to 140 per week in 2014, even with the mobile shop. Almost all new cars required electronic keys and while we could make a few of them, the company refused to purchase the programmers required to make the rest so we were largely useless in that regard. In May of 2014, we received word that all the remaining shops would close. After a two month “Going Out of Business” sale, all our equipment, merchandise, and fixtures were to be trashed.

Three shop managers, two in Houston and myself, asked if we could purchase our key shops and continue running them. The company agreed. So, after negotiating a lease with Sears, acquiring a business license, employing a lawyer and accountant, and dotting endless i’s and an equal number of t’s, the company’s key shop closed on July 31st, 2014. My key shop opened up five days later on August 5th, 2014.

During this process, the strangest situation was that the old company lease required that photos of the vacated key shop had to be taken and sent to Sears to prove that it was now vacant. Therefore, I had to remove everything from the key shop and move it into my garage and then move everything back in once Sears had confirmed that my new lease was in effect.

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As the new owner, I could buy anything I wanted. The first thing I did was to purchase a programmer that would work for most car keys. I sold these keys for $60 and up, so sales increased quite a bit. My next investments were into other merchandise customers had asked for but my old company had refused to stock. Things were going well and the shop was once again making money.

In two years, it was time to renew my lease with Sears. I was still making a profit, but even with the new equipment and merchandise, my customer count had dropped to 120 per week. Across the street at Sears, my friends clued me in that things were even worse—national news about Sears was bleak. If I signed a new lease, it would require that I keep the shop open regardless of how much money I might be losing in the future. However, Sears was free to close at any time with no compensation for me. So, at 67 years old, I decided it was the right time for me to retire.

I did my best to find a buyer to take over the key shop, but no one wanted to take a chance with Sears being in the state that it was. I sent out letters to local locksmiths to purchase my assets. In the last month, I removed all the counters and fixtures and patched and painted the walls as per my lease. I sold off everything except the mobile key shop and wheeled that into the main building to keep open for the last week or so.

At 5pm on Saturday, July 30th, 2016, I emptied the contents of the mobile shop into my van and pushed the actual mobile shop across the street. I returned to lock up the shop for the last time and drove away.

EPILOGUE

About a year later, someone else reopens the key shop and in less than a year after that, on July 15th, 2018, Sears closes its store, in effect putting them out.

Sears declared bankruptcy on October 15th, 2018 and was sold off to Edward Lambert, its largest stockholder and former CEO, a sale which is approved on February 8th, 2019. Lambert plans to keep open about 400 Sears and Kmart stores out of 4000+ at its high point.

Things Remembered, my old company, declared bankruptcy on February 6th, 2019 and was acquired by Enesco which plans to keep open about 170 shops out of 900 stores at its peak. When Things Remembered still operated gift and key shops inside of Sears stores, as well as Wards and Venture, the total shop count (leased and mall stores) was about 2,000.

I am enjoying being retired just fine. I still have dreams about the key shop and there are times when I really miss it.

Promotions at Six Corners | 5/28/2019

Collectiv, 5743 W. Irving Park Rd., is clearing out their candle inventory to make room for brand new scents! So, they are offering all wood-wick candles for 50% off while supplies last! 

Culver's, 4939 W. Irving Park Rd., is offering the following promotions: 

- May 28: National Hamburger Day- $2 Butter Burgers (limit 8)

Fannie's Cafe, 5040 W. Montrose Ave., will give you 10% off catering orders if you mention the Six Corners newsletter! Also, bring in a receipt from Lake Effect Brewing (now open on Sundays) and receive 10% off at Fannie's. Their brunch is BYOB! 

Fantasy Costumes, 4065 N. Milwaukee Ave: Memorial Day Sale: CAKE (Chicago Alternative Comics Expo) is happening June 1st and 2nd. Fantasy will be offering 25% off the entire store. Some exclusions apply. Sale ends Sunday, June 2nd. 

Fischman Public House, 4058 N. Milwaukee Ave.: Bring your same-day receipt to Fischman's after you've eaten at frunchroom and get 10% off their bottles & cans. Valid Wednesday through Sunday.

frunchroom, 4042 N. Milwaukee Ave: Get 10% off Wednesdays-Sundays when you bring your own bottles/cans from Fischman Bottle Shop.

Grand Vein Specialists, 4952 W. Irving Park Rd., offers 10% off Botox and fillers every Friday! Their hours are 1pm-6pm and they're located at 4952 W. Irving Park Rd. Contact them at 773-942-6141 for more information or to set up an appointment. 

Lake Effect Brewing, 4727 W. Montrose Ave., is now open Sundays. Bring a brunch receipt from Fannie's Cafe on Sunday and receive 10% off on your purchase. 

Prism Optical, 3594 N. Milwaukee Ave., is highlighting OVVO frames in June! Purchase any OVVO frame from them and get free single vision polycarbonate lenses with A/R (reg. price $198). Mention you saw this deal in the Six Corners newsletter. Cannot be used in combination with your insurance. Read their newest blog post here.

Te'ase Tea Shoppe, 5755 W. Irving Park Rd., holds Happy Hour Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 3-6pm when freshly brewed hot or iced teas are half off. On Tea'se Tuesdays, you can buy one get one half off of freshly brewed hot or iced tea! 

Wildlight Yoga, 4140 N. Milwaukee Ave. is offering a New Student Special. For only $28, get two weeks of unlimited classes. This is for new students only upon first visit! Students may apply toward purchase of membership upon completion of two weeks. Available at their website

Work At Six Corners: Six Corners Association Executive Director

Position Announcement

Six Corners Association Executive Director

Six Corners Association seeks a full-time Executive Director to provide vision, direction, and leadership in implementing the strategic goals and day-to-day operations of the Six Corners Association.

The Six Corners neighborhood, at the intersection at Milwaukee Avenue, Cicero Avenue, and Irving Park Road, is an iconic retail destination and an economic driver of Chicago’s Northwest Side. In recent years, Six Corners has become known as a creative hub for innovative entrepreneurs and vibrant arts organizations. Six Corners Association’s small-and-mighty, hands-on team fosters the development of a thriving commercial district by mentoring and connecting community-minded businesses, attracting customers, and engaging in intentional planning for the district’s future.

Position title: Executive Director
Salaried, full-time, exempt position with occasional evening and weekend hours
Start date: Immediate
Reports to: Six Corners Association Board of Directors


Essential functions: Directs and manages the overall operations and staff in accordance with the policies and goals established by the Board of Directors; responsible for managing the objectives of the Association’s strategic plan, developing programming, organizational and financial plans, and ensuring effective execution of the annual work plan for the continual growth of the Six Corners commercial district.

More Info here.


This Place Matters | Six Corners

Everyone has places that are important to them. Places they care about. Places that matter. This Place Matters is a national campaign that encourages people to celebrate the places that are meaningful to them and to their communities.

Six Corners and the buildings that exist and have existed within it are places that matter to our residents. This is why we reached out to you all to ask you your memories of living, shopping, and playing around Six Corners. The following is a dedication to the spaces and buildings that our residents have created memories in. Through This Place Matters, we hope to encourage and inspire an ongoing dialogue about the importance of place and preservation in all of our lives.

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LUKE C.

I grew up in Old Irving Park and have very fond memories of Six Corners. I can't tell you how many summers I spent biking around the buildings at Six Corners—I never quite had a particular destination, but it was just wonderful to bike through and between all the nooks and crannies that the buildings' exteriors provided. There were always a comfortable amount of traffic and people—just enough to see what places people were attracted to, but not so many that my biking was interrupted. If I had to give one building that I did very much enjoy walking around, it would be Sears. I mean, who didn't?

Six Corners was my playground. It was my childhood.
— Colleen G.
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THERESA F.

I used to go to the dentist in the Klee Building when I was little. If it ended up that I had to have any work done, my mom would take me to Kee Department Store and buy me a toy. I always liked going to the dentist because of this.

MARY JO P.

My parents bought their home at Bernice and Kilpatrick in 1963, the year I was born. My three siblings and I went to St. Bartholomew grade school, and I graduated from DePaul. We shopped at Six Corners almost every day.  My favorite places were the Alpine Market on Cicero, Woolworth’s, the Newsstand (that later became City News), and Kee Department Store. My love for music began in the 70s in the record department at Kee. I would take my allowance and go first to the record department to buy a 99 cent 45 record and pick up my SuperCFL survey, then over to Newsstand to buy my Rolling Stone magazine. I’d stop at Sears and look for clothes and Mailings for shoes and finally to Woolworth lunch counter for a grilled cheese and Green River soda. Six Corners was my neighborhood and my world. I have many fond memories. We had it all! I moved back in 2015 and fell in love all over again.

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DEBBY S.

My grandma lived at 8049 W. Irving and never learned to drive, so she was proficient with public transportation. We enjoyed many bus trips up Irving to Six Corners for Sears shopping and walking in and out of local stores. We frequented Portage Park and the Metro Warehouse—which was maybe at Belmont and Central. We often went all the way to the lakefront after our Sears excursions and ate cream cheese and jelly sandwiches by the totem pole at Sheridan and Irving. It seemed that—not only did she know her way around town—she talked with all the shopkeepers. It was all just a big neighborhood!

DEBBIE G.

Having been born in Old Irving Park in 1966 (and still a resident), I have very fond memories of Six Corners growing up. Every Saturday morning—without fail—my sisters, friends, and I would make our weekly pilgrimage to visit Sears where we'd go to purchase the latest 45s or Bonne Bell Lip Smacker, Kee Department Store just because, the Brunswick Store to check out the T-shirts, Puff Fluff donuts for a treat, or the Woolworth counter for a sundae.  No visit would be complete without a trip to the Jewelry Heist for the $1 grab bag. I loved going to the Alpine Market to look at the stuffed bear, even though I never bought anything. In the late 70s/early 80s there was a Gap, a Herman’s Sporting Goods store and a slew of card and gift shops. We had no need to ever go anywhere else. So many great memories!

JIM

Back in the late 60's, we dressed like "greasers" , bought some clothes at Bernard’s Mens Store (4047 N. Milwaukee ), our pointed Cuban heel shoes at Thom McAnn (4024 N. Milwaukee ), danced at "Our Place" Teen Club (4065 N Milwaukee), and bought our records at Deluxe (between Our Place & Bernards).

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SARAH D.

I grew up at Keeler & Byron in the 80s, and walking with my siblings and cousins to the Portage Theater at Six Corners was SUCH a treat! Cheap movies ($1??) and such fun! I have INCREDIBLY fond memories of the Portage as our neighborhood theater...that we could WALK TO (without adults!). It was our first bit of childhood/tween/pre-tween independence that I remember. Still fond of the Portage today, due to the childhood memories from the 80s.

DAKOTA C.

I have very fond memories of The Portage Theater as someone that grew up in the neighborhood with many friends who lived nearby. For a couple of years, my elementary school, North Park Elementary, hosted our annual school musical at The Portage. I remember feeling like such a legitimate actress on that stage with its built-in dressing rooms and professional lighting and sound rigs. As the first real theatre I ever performed in, it holds a dear place in my heart! We really thought we were quite the professionals! I don't live in the neighborhood anymore (but I'm not far)! I enjoy coming back and visiting the old neighborhood whenever possible!

Promotions at Six Corners | 5/21/2019

Culver's, 4939 W. Irving Park Rd., is offering the following promotions: 

- May 28: National Hamburger Day- $2 Butter Burgers (limit 8)

Fannie's Cafe, 5040 W. Montrose Ave., will give you 10% off catering orders if you mention the Six Corners newsletter! Also, bring in a receipt from Lake Effect Brewing (now open on Sundays) and receive 10% off at Fannie's. Their brunch is BYOB! 

Fantasy Costumes, 4065 N. Milwaukee Ave: Memorial Day Sale: buy any item at regular price and get a second item of equal or lesser value for 50% off. Some exclusions apply. Sale ends Sunday, May 26th. 

Fischman Public House, 4058 N. Milwaukee Ave.: Bring your same-day receipt to Fischman's after you've eaten at frunchroom and get 10% off their bottles & cans. Valid Wednesday through Sunday.

frunchroom, 4042 N. Milwaukee Ave: Get 10% off Wednesdays-Sundays when you bring your own bottles/cans from Fischman Bottle Shop.

Grand Vein Specialists, 4952 W. Irving Park Rd., offers 10% off Botox and fillers every Friday! Their hours are 1pm-6pm and they're located at 4952 W. Irving Park Rd. Contact them at 773-942-6141 for more information or to set up an appointment. 

Lake Effect Brewing, 4727 W. Montrose Ave., is now open Sundays. Bring a brunch receipt from Fannie's Cafe on Sunday and receive 10% off on your purchase. 

Prism Optical, 3594 N. Milwaukee Ave., is holding a 20% off discount on all in-stock Carrera sunglasses and frames throughout May. Prism says, "MAY you have a great pair of sunglasses this summer!"

Te'ase Tea Shoppe, 5755 W. Irving Park Rd., holds Happy Hour Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 3-6pm when freshly brewed hot or iced teas are half off. On Tea'se Tuesdays, you can buy one get one half off of freshly brewed hot or iced tea! 

TWICE, 5450 W. Belmont Ave., is liquidating all furniture and will be holding a big sale Memorial Day weekend. Call ahead if you'd like to preview and buy before this date or on off days. TWICE is open regularly on Fridays and Saturdays from 10-6pm. 

Wildlight Yoga, 4140 N. Milwaukee Ave. is offering a New Student Special. For only $28, get two weeks of unlimited classes. This is for new students only upon first visit! Students may apply toward purchase of membership upon completion of two weeks. Available at their website

Work at Six Corners

Six Corners Association is currently looking for an administrative assistant. If you are interested in the position, please view the the job description here.

Promotions at Six Corners | 5/14/2019

Culver's, 4939 W. Irving Park Rd., is offering the following promotions: 

- May 15: First Responder Appreciation Day- Free Snack Pack for first responders.

Fannie's Cafe, 5040 W. Montrose Ave., will give you 10% off catering orders if you mention the Six Corners newsletter! Also, bring in a receipt from Lake Effect Brewing (now open on Sundays) and receive 10% off at Fannie's. Their brunch is BYOB! 

Fantasy Costumes, 4065 N. Milwaukee Ave: Anime Midwest is May 17th-19th. Fantasy is offering 25% off anime related costumes , wigs and accessories. Some exclusions apply. Sale ends Sunday, May 19th. 

Fischman Public House, 4058 N. Milwaukee Ave.: Bring your same-day receipt to Fischman's after you've eaten at frunchroom and get 10% off their bottles & cans. Valid Wednesday through Sunday.

frunchroom, 4042 N. Milwaukee Ave: Get 10% off Wednesdays-Sundays when you bring your own bottles/cans from Fischman Bottle Shop.

Grand Vein Specialists, 4952 W. Irving Park Rd., offers 10% off Botox and fillers every Friday! Their hours are 1pm-6pm and they're located at 4952 W. Irving Park Rd. Contact them at 773-942-6141 for more information or to set up an appointment. 

Lake Effect Brewing, 4727 W. Montrose Ave., is now open Sundays. Bring a brunch receipt from Fannie's Cafe on Sunday and receive 10% off on your purchase. 

Prism Optical, 3594 N. Milwaukee Ave., is holding a 20% off discount on all in-stock Carrera sunglasses and frames throughout May. Prism says, "MAY you have a great pair of sunglasses this summer!"

Te'ase Tea Shoppe, 5755 W. Irving Park Rd., holds Happy Hour Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 3-6pm when freshly brewed hot or iced teas are half off. On Tea'se Tuesdays, you can buy one get one half off of freshly brewed hot or iced tea! 

TWICE, 5450 W. Belmont Ave., is liquidating all furniture and will be holding a big sale Memorial Day weekend. Call ahead if you'd like to preview and buy before this date or on off days. TWICE is open regularly on Fridays and Saturdays from 10-6pm. 

Wildlight Yoga, 4140 N. Milwaukee Ave. is offering a New Student Special. For only $28, get two weeks of unlimited classes. This is for new students only upon first visit! Students may apply toward purchase of membership upon completion of two weeks. Available at their website

Promotions at Six Corners | 5/7/2019

Collectiv, 5743 W. Irving Park Rd., is currently holding their biggest candle sale ever! From now until May 12th, they are offering 25% off of all candles (coconut wax, woodwick candles made in small batches right in Portage Park). There are also new custom greeting cards designed and printed locally as well as plenty of Mother’s Day gift ideas under $50! P.S. They’ll be at the Independence Park Pre-Mother’s Day Fine Craft Fair this Saturday! 

Culver's, 4939 W. Irving Park Rd., is offering the following promotions: 

- May 12: Mother's Day- Buy one, get one free of two scoop sundaes and carnations for moms.

- May 15: First Responder Appreciation Day- Free Snack Pack for first responders.

Distinct Bath & Body, 4046 N. Milwaukee Ave., is celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week. Anyone who purchases an Apple Soap Gift Trio will receive a free "Thank You" greeting card. Also, any teacher who shows their educator's ID will receive 10% off their purchase.

Fannie's Cafe, 5040 W. Montrose Ave., will give you 10% off catering orders if you mention the Six Corners newsletter! Also, bring in a receipt from Lake Effect Brewing (now open on Sundays) and receive 10% off at Fannie's. Their brunch is BYOB! 

Fantasy Costumes, 4065 N. Milwaukee Ave: Just in time for Mother's Day, all wigs are $100 or buy 1 at regular price, get the second one of equal or lesser value for 50% off. Some exclusions apply. Sale ends Sunday, May 12th. 

Fischman Public House, 4058 N. Milwaukee Ave.: Bring your same-day receipt to Fischman's after you've eaten at frunchroom and get 10% off their bottles & cans. Valid Wednesday through Sunday.

frunchroom, 4042 N. Milwaukee Ave: Get 10% off Wednesdays-Sundays when you bring your own bottles/cans from Fischman Bottle Shop.

Grand Vein Specialists, 4952 W. Irving Park Rd., offers 10% off Botox and fillers every Friday! Their hours are 1pm-6pm and they're located at 4952 W. Irving Park Rd. Contact them at 773-942-6141 for more information or to set up an appointment. 

Lake Effect Brewing, 4727 W. Montrose Ave., is now open Sundays. Bring a brunch receipt from Fannie's Cafe on Sunday and receive 10% off on your purchase. 

Prism Optical, 3594 N. Milwaukee Ave., is holding a 20% off discount on all in-stock Carrera sunglasses and frames throughout May. Prism says, "MAY you have a great pair of sunglasses this summer!"

Singer Factory Distributor, 4914 W. Irving Park Rd., has a great Mother's Day deal on the Husqvarna Brilliance 80. Its MSRP is $10,999 but you can get it now at Singer for $5,999 (with qualified trade). Call for more information at 773-545-6834 or stop in to see them! 

Te'ase Tea Shoppe, 5755 W. Irving Park Rd., holds Happy Hour Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 3-6pm when freshly brewed hot or iced teas are half off. On Tea'se Tuesdays, you can buy one get one half off of freshly brewed hot or iced tea! 

Wildlight Yoga, 4140 N. Milwaukee Ave. is offering a New Student Special. For only $28, get two weeks of unlimited classes. This is for new students only upon first visit! Students may apply toward purchase of membership upon completion of two weeks. Available at their website

Promotions at Six Corners | 4/29/2019

Collectiv, 5743 W. Irving Park Rd., is currently holding their biggest candle sale ever! From now until May 12th, they are offering 25% off of all candles (coconut wax, woodwick candles made in small batches right in Portage Park). There are also new custom greeting cards designed and printed locally as well as plenty of Mother’s Day gift ideas under $50! P.S. They’ll be at the Independence Park Pre-Mother’s Day Fine Craft Fair this Saturday! 

Culver's, 4939 W. Irving Park Rd., is offering the following promotions: 

- May 3: National Chocolate Custard Day! $2 scoops of chocolate custard. 

- May 6: National Nurses Appreciation Day! Free one-scoop sundaes for nurses who provide their badge/workplace ID. 

- May 7: Teacher Appreciation Day! Free one-scoop sundaes for all teachers who show their school IDs. 

Distinct Bath & Body, 4046 N. Milwaukee Ave., is celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week. Anyone who purchases an Apple Soap Gift Trio will receive a free "Thank You" greeting card. Also, any teacher who shows their educator's ID will receive 10% off their purchase.

Fantasy Costumes, 4065 N. Milwaukee Ave, is offering 20% off on all Cinco de Mayo and Kentucky Derby costumes and accessories from now until May 5th. Some exclusions apply. They also now have fasteners in stock for $7.99-$19.99.  

Fischman Public House, 4058 N. Milwaukee Ave.: Bring your same-day receipt to Fischman's after you've eaten at frunchroom and get 10% off their bottles & cans. Valid Wednesday through Sunday.

frunchroom, 4042 N. Milwaukee Ave: Get 10% off Wednesdays-Sundays when you bring your own bottles/cans from Fischman Bottle Shop.

Grand Vein Specialists, 4952 W. Irving Park Rd., offers 10% off Botox and fillers every Friday! Their hours are 1pm-6pm and they're located at 4952 W. Irving Park Rd. Contact them at 773-942-6141 for more information or to set up an appointment. 

Lake Effect Brewing, 4727 W. Montrose Ave., is offering tours of their facility every Saturday at 2, 3:30, and 5pm. This is a great way to see local manufacturing in action. The freshest beers will be available for to-go purchase! 

Singer Factory Distributor, 4914 W. Irving Park Rd., wants to remind you that April is National Serger Month! Receive a free mini vacuum kit and a catch-all with the purchase of a Husqvarna Viking HClass 250S. With your purchase, you also receive free lessons on how to use your serger. Stop in today!  

Te'ase Tea Shoppe, 5755 W. Irving Park Rd., holds Happy Hour Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 3-6pm. On Tea'se Tuesdays, you can buy one get one half off of freshly brewed hot or iced tea! 

Wildlight Yoga, 4140 N. Milwaukee Ave. is offering a New Student Special. For only $28, get two weeks of unlimited classes. This is for new students only upon first visit! Students may apply toward purchase of membership upon completion of two weeks. Available at their website

Cuyler Community Plaza

Six Corners Association in partnership with Alderman Arena's office worked to secure $1,050,000 for the design and construction of a permanent community plaza on Cuyler and Milwaukee Ave. The funds were allocated from the Irving/Cicero Tax Increment Funding.

Pictured: Giddings Plaza in Lincoln Square

Pictured: Giddings Plaza in Lincoln Square

The City of Chicago will manage the RFP process and select the vendors for the project. Once the vendors are selected, about a 4-6 month process, a task force will be created to provide feedback on the design elements of the plaza. Community members will be encouraged to take part in this process. 

Pictured: Conceptual plaza plans from the Six Corners Master Plan

Pictured: Conceptual plaza plans from the Six Corners Master Plan

The Six Corners Master Plan proposed the creation of a gathering space north of the Portage Theater, specifically citing the Belle Plaine Plaza as the proposed plaza space. Due to ownership and construction constraints of that private property, Cuyler was viewed to be an exceptional alternative to the originally proposed site next door. 

This people plaza helps continue the efforts of creating a pedestrian and bike friendly culture in our commercial district. Some of the great improvements that have been made to cultivate this culture is the installation of bike lanes on Milwaukee Avenue, between Addison and Lawrence, the installation of sidewalk bump outs at the Milwaukee Avenue and Cuyler intersections, and the installation of a Divvy Bike Station, bike corral, and fixit station on Cuyler Avenue. 

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The plaza is planned for Cuyler at Milwaukee west to the alley entrance. To accommodate residents, businesses, and other people accessing Six Corners, Cuyler will be converted into a two-way street with a cul-de-sac at the eastern end. Additionally, we are working with CDOT to determine whether or not converting the block of 4000 N LaPorte Ave into a two-way street would improve traffic flow.

Residents and business owners of this community have expressed much interest in a gathering space similar to that of Giddings Plaza in Lincoln Square. The people plaza on Cuyler will provide people the opportunity to have this open space that they can utilize. The plaza would help activate a street in a way that would attract people to the shopping district and bring great economic benefits to the already existing businesses and encourage more development along Milwaukee Ave. 

Plans for the plaza are still in the preliminary stages. As the process begins Six Corners Association is planning to engage the community as much as possible to make sure that the design of the plaza is informed by what community members want. We will host a community meeting in the coming months to explain to people the project, gather their feedback, and address or take into consideration any concerns that they have.

Need Glasses? Stop in at VisionWorks!

VisionWorks at Six Corners, 4100 N. Cicero Ave., is having a limited time sale! Get 2 pairs of single vision glasses for $59 or 2 pairs of progressive glasses for $99! Store Manager, Jordan Myers and his awesome team are waiting to help you save some money! Offer ends April 20th!

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Tenant Needed: 4018 N. Milwaukee Avenue

A tenant is needed at 4018 N. Milwaukee Ave., Suite 208-B.

The office space is 10 ft. x 12 ft. and has a large window that emits lots of natural light. The wood floors don't hurt either! The monthly rent is $250 without furniture and $300 with it. Utilities are split with adjourning Suite 208-A and the reception area is included in the rent price.

For more information, contact Myrna with MSM Realty Group at 773-614-7644.

Joe Basilone Recognized as Northwest Side Hero

Appeared originally in “45th Ward Update” Newsletter by Alderman John Arena’s Office

Northwest Side Hero: Joe Basilone

Joe together with his wife Melissa Basilone have made a name for themselves on the Northwest Side as the owner/operators of several popular gathering places: Thrift & Thrive, Sputnik Books and Records, and Perkolator Coffee.

These businesses have one thing in common: they are passion based.

“It’s totally self-serving! We wanted a great resale shop and a place to have coffee! I jest. But all of these ideas came from things we wished we had in the neighborhood. You can sit back and ask ‘ When is someone going to do something?’ Or you can be that someone. At some point you have take responsibility.”

The couple lives in the Portage Park neighborhood with their two children. Joe appreciates that they can live and work in a small radius and be truly immersed in the community.

Being lucky enough to live, work, play, and send my kids to school in the same neighborhood is very reminiscent of that 1960s TV family. Sometimes we just have to take a step back and say, ‘Wow, this is an amazing opportunity. Don’t blow it!’

Joe is originally from Nyack, about 20 miles north of New York City. Melissa hails from New Mexico. The two met in Gainesville, Florida, in the late 90s, where Joe had opened up… what else? A coffeehouse.

“People don’t know that Perkolator is my SECOND coffeeshop.”

Joe has a long history in coffee, working for many years in retail for Intelligentsia and then Caribou Coffee before starting up his own ventures. He and Melissa left Florida in 2001 and first lived in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village before making their way to the Northwest Side. Frequent trips to Jefferson Park’s Sicilia Bakery introduced them to the area and in 2008, the Basilones moved to their current home in Portage Park and set down roots.

We liked it here because it felt like a distinct Chicago neighborhood, not overrun by chain stores—and this is before we were business people! We appreciated the collection of neighbors and mom-and-pop businesses that together made this place feel like a community.

In 2011, the couple joined that business community, launching Thrift & Thrive, inspired by their personal interests and upbringing. Melissa also loved thrift store hunting while growing up in New Mexico. Joe was raised by his mom and grandparents and has fond memories of thrift-store shopping with his grandma, ‘Nan’ Wanda Hennessey, now aged 93.

“Nan was a frugal woman but on these days, there was no spending limit. We’d spend $15 and I’d come home with a brand new wardrobe. I have always felt that I was born a generation or two late. Part of that is growing up with grandparents and parents who always spoke about the 'good ol' days,' and that is definitely reflected in my taste in music and of course, how we decorate our businesses. We want to give people the neighborhood they reminisce about having, or always wanted to have."

Thrift & Thrive was also inspired by the stark contrast Joe couldn’t help but notice here in Portage Park.

“We were seeing our neighbors lose their houses and lose their jobs. Then we’d be driving through the alley and see like-new furniture put out for the trash. There are a lot of haves and have-nots in our neighborhood. We view Thrift & Thrive as the neighborhood trading post where people can drop off unwanted items that others can purchase at a reasonable price.”

While many other thrift stores are backed by large national nonprofits, Thrift & Thrive is uniquely local.

“Our primary focus has always been, and will continue to be, reinvesting 90 cents of every dollar back into this community.”

In 2014, Joe and Melissa launched Perkolator, a coffeeshop serving up much more than coffee. They have a full breakfast and lunch menu, and all the snacks and caffeine needed for in between. Walk in on most days and you will find the place busy and bustling.

Perkolator doesn’t belong to Joe and Melissa Basilone anymore—it belongs to Portage Park. We’re grateful for the team we have working there and the community that supports it.

Adjoining the coffeehouse is Sputnik Records and Books, which sells lightly used reading and listening pleasures perfect to go along with your cup of joe.

Until recently the couple also owned and operated a fourth business, Charley Noble, a unique sandwich shop that closed in late 2018 after a whirlwind year. Earlier that year, Melissa was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“We had a tough year last year. Melissa’s battle with cancer changed our trajectory and put in perspective how we spend our time. Our goal of providing everything for the community had to take a back seat.”

Charley Noble as a fledgling business was doing well, but the stress of running four businesses, raising two kids (now age 8 and 13), and chemo was too much for anyone to balance.

“It was having an impact on us.”

The Basilones are using 2019 as a time to regroup.

“Cancer taught us to slow down and really smell the roses. Be happy with the abundance we have. I was collecting business like toys—I don’t want to be a hypocrite for my children.”

Joe also knows there’s always room for improvement.

“We want to strive to do more with what we have—to deliver a dialed in experience with our current businesses.”

His message to area residents is a rallying call:

Get out from behind your screens and get out in your community. Likes don’t put dollars in registers and keep local businesses open. They don’t keep community programs funded or neighborhood teams cheered on. Get out and be a part of your community.

Joe mentions that joining one of our many neighborhood groups is a great place to start, such as the Portage Park Neighborhood Association or Jefferson Park Forward, among others.

“We all have something to give. For us, it’s this. If we didn’t love what we did, we’d be out of business. That’s the single characteristic across all failed businesses—when the genuine passion is gone. Owning a business is like caring for a house plant, you have to love and nurture it.”