CHICAGO (CBS) — For decades, it’s been a street of bargains and personal attention.
But the “mom and pop” stores along Roosevelt Road in the South Loop are going away, unable to afford higher rents now that big stores are moving in, CBS 2’s Jim Williams finds in this Original Report.
Richard Nelson of I Weinberg Hosiery says he’s been at the location for 56 years.
Paul Zayed of Fox Brothers Tailors says the business has been on Roosevelt Road for 95 years.
They’re Davids in a new land of Goliaths.
“Mom and pops, they’re gone,” one of the business owners says.
Tommy Davis has shopped on Roosevelt Road all his life. He’s watched big retailers come in, meeting the demands of the South Loop’s growing residential population.
A lot of small stores, some with links to the old Maxwell Street Market, are gone.
According to one small business owner, merchants now are in deep negotiations with landlords who say rents are going up more than 50 percent.
And amid the rising costs of rent, Nelson is fortunate. He’s owns the building his store is in. But he worries about his neighbors.
“They’re in trouble – you can’t go from paying $3,000-$4.000 in rent a month to paying $10,000; $11,000; $12,000 a month.”
Fox Brothers has a long-term lease, and won’t go anywhere anytime soon. But they’re charging more for their custom-made suits..
“I was selling a suit for $595 25 years ago and now I’m getting $1,300; $1,400; $1,500 for a suit now,” Zayed says.
But Davis misses the old Roosevelt Road, saying, “Has it lost something? It’s lost its soul.”
An executive for the Stone Real Estate company, which represents landlords there, told CBS 2 “retail follows residential.”
Many more people are living in the South Loop and big retailers want their business, so they’re willing to pay high rent–rent some small stores can’t afford.