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In January, a Racked tipster noted that shops were closing—and eateries were opening—on Armitage Avenue. It seems that the once boutique-filled strip is continuing to shift its focus from retail to restaurants—or perhaps, as DNA Info points out, it's just "trying to find its identity."
For the last couple of years, storefronts left vacant by the street's shuttered boutiques have been reoccupied by restaurants and specialty food shops. Berco's Popcorn, for example, opened in the former Cynthia Rowley boutique last June. Just last month, Blue Door Farm Stand opened in the spot that formerly belonged to accessory boutique Sage Chicago. At 1000 West Armitage Avenue—once a Ralph Lauren Rugby store—crews are busily installing a Le Pain Quotidien restaurant. And, a Freshii will open next month in the space that once held the boutique Camelot Children's Kingdom.
Art Effect, via Lulu Abroad
Though there are more store closures in the works—1154 Lill Studio is closing all its locations in March—Armitage Avenue has longstanding shops that are still very much in business. Lori's Shoes and McShane's Exchange are still going strong. Art Effect has been up and running for 29 years, and owner Esther Fishman sees the foodie invasion as a shot in the arm for local business. "We are thrilled," she told DNA Info."We haven't had food on this street in so long,"
Ultimately, the street's identity shift is "a great thing" from a marketing standpoint, said Padraic Swanton, director of communications and marketing for the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce. "It will create the kind of shopping and dining environment that makes people want to stay. If you can get people to come to one street, hit a couple of stores and hit a restaurant in between, that's really a comprehensive experience."
· Is Armitage Avenue Becoming Less Retail-Friendly? [Racked Chicago]
· Armitage's Fashion Focus Shifts to Food, Reflects Changing Neighborhood [DNA Info]