Reporting Lisa Fielding
CHICAGO (CBS) – Got a ragtop? Then Jim Eldred is your man.
“The Top Store is in the business of storing hard tops,” said Eldred.
Inside the 25,000 square foot facility on the corner of Fulton & Hoyne, you’ll find everything from Jeep hard tops, classic cars and hundreds of performance and snow tires.
“A lot of if is cars stored permanently year round but we’ll double our winter space for car storage when the tops are gone,” said Eldred.
Eldred says the Top Store primarily caters to hard and soft top storage, but they also offer a concierge service, maintenance and body work.
“We do a little car everything,” said Eldred. The majority of his clients: City people who need the service in the spring and fall.
“The lakefront here with the density of the population and the population on the lake having some money to have this service,a lot of people have cars and don’t have places for them.”
At one of its kind business in Chicago, September is the beginning of the busy season.
“We are a seasonal business. Spring and fall are crazy. What we do with the hard tops in three and a half months in the spring, we put people’s soft tops on, we do in two and a half months in the fall.”
Today is especially busy as Eldred’s crew is readying dozens of cars for winter.
“For the next two and a half months, we’ll do 10 to 15 tops a day. With that, we are also switching 150 tires and wheel sets for the winter.”
Eldred says the Top Store also caters to those with too many cars and nowhere to put them.
“Rocket ship sports cars, classics then there will be people in the military who want to store their cars while their gone.”
Eldred says the automotive industry is constantly changing, and the Top Store continues to change with it.
“I’m already running out of space again. We’ll have to get something bigger. That’s where the future is.”
The Top Store is celebrating 20 years in business this year. For more information log on to topstore.com.