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Our man about town Jared Hatch hits up the new Urban Outfitters in Lakeview. Was promised: live music, jamming out. Was delivered: an afternoon-only DJ and a confusing discount/charity runaround.
This morning, the eighth Urban Outfitters in Chicagoland opened its doors at 651 West Diversey Parkway and began selling risque religious desk ornaments and faux suede ankle boots to Lakeview residents. In a really unimaginative attempt to help build the ever growing neighborhood near Clark, Diversey, Broadway and Halsted, UO has decided on the boxy old Pier 1 space between the future Trader Joe's at 700 W Diversey and existing Akira at 643 W.
Throughout the week we've been peeking in the windows and checking in with the "too cool for school" production crew (here from Philly) to install the store. They were too busy most of the week to give us any real information. Even the peeps at other UO locations weren't sure what was going on with the Diversey space. We did, however, pick up an uninspired lime green flier from the Rush street store letting us know that at the store's grand opening, there was going to be live music and 10% of the day's sales would be donated to The AIDS Foundation of Chicago.
We spoke with UO blog correspondent, Justin, about the "Live Music" and he assured us there would be a live band "jamming out". When we arrived at the fresh and nearly brand-perfect store this morning there is no "jamming" to be found (except crochet panda bowls in the sale section). The staff quasi-clarified that the "Live Music" is a guy who works in the store who will start his shift in the afternoon and spin some urban-approved music. Bummer. So we ask about UO's initiative to donate 10% of the day's profits to the AIDS Foundation and the worker replied "As long as you mention it then you get the discount." Wait a minute, a discount or a donation? Upon further clarification, we found out that they are offering a 10% discount if you mention a post on their Facebook page. The 10% donation part comes at the end of the day today. This particular store is one of only three new Urban Outfitters that have opened in 2010 and were allowed by Urban Outfitter's corporate headquarters to offer a community-based charitable donation as an incentive to shop on the opening day.
When we were in there this morning, (before the "live music") there wasn't too much foot traffic which makes us wonder about how much of a tax-deductible donation UO will actually make today. A UO Employee told us this week that on black Fridays in previous years after the recession one of the downtown stores would make close to $100k. Given this shaky black Friday shop talk and looking at the company's stock and earnings record from 2009 and through the third quarter of this year, we feel that since such wanton expansion and the crazy deep pockets of Richard Hayne warrant increasing their donation to at least 15% of opening day profits. In the name of charity especially at this time of year. We consumers also may empowered to have the option to apply the 10% Facebook discount as a donation to the AIDS Foundation. The company has been reporting earnings every chance thy get so why is Urban Outfitters so hesitant when it comes to donating to their customer's community organizations? Maybe it's something political?
· The AIDS Foundation Chicago [Official Site]
· Urban Outfitters [Official Site]