Two Fish closes in Forest Park

Art glass and home accessories store helped spark Madison Street commerce


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By Nick Moroni

Forest Park Review Editor

Two Fish Art Glass has announced on the front page of its website and in its Madison Street storefront window that it will close its doors in mid-July, the result of lagging sales.

The store at 7401 Madison St. had been a fixture in Forest Park since its arrival from Oak Park in 2003, and owners Tonya Hart and Cece Hardacker were instrumental in the entrepreneurial renaissance that the commercial strip experienced in the last 15 years.

"First let us say you are the best customers EVER," they wrote on their website, "and we have loved serving you the last 12 years."

In a phone conversation, Hart commended the "band of merchants" on Madison Street, which, she claimed, works together "to create business and to understand what we [collectively] are going through."

In the early 1990s with Madison Street at low ebb, Art Jones, along with several other Forest Park business leaders, co-founded Windmills, LLC, which owns the building Two Fish currently occupies. He said he is saddened to learn the shop will be closing, and noted that both Hart and Hardacker were important players in revitalizing Madison Street.

"They immediately made an impact, because they became very involved," Jones said. "They started a marketing cooperative, became involved in other businesses on the street. They brought a product that was first class ... and helped other businesses come."

Don Offermann, a Windmills co-founder, manager of the building that Two Fish occupies and vice president at Forest Park National Bank, expressed similar support.

He called Hart and Hardacker's impact on Madison Street a "tremendous contribution" to Forest Park.

"They were not only active in marketing their own enterprise, but also in marketing others," said Offermann, noting that the co-owners formed advertising cooperatives to combine resources for the overall promotion of businesses throughout the village.

"It's discouraging. ... We're sad to hear that news; both Cece and Tanya have been good business people and very helpful with the Main Street organization and the chamber," said Mayor Anthony Calderone, who has been credited with playing a big role in backing efforts that reshaped Madison Street at the beginning of his first term as mayor in 1999. Around that time, the local nonprofit Main Street Redevelopment Corporation brought new businesses to the village's main commercial drag and subsequently formed what is now a much livelier different street.

Two Fish first opened in Oak Park in 1999, before being courted to Forest Park.

Windmills was founded by several Forest Park business players in the mid-1990s with the goal of controlling key but underused properties on Madison Street. The corporation purchased a number of buildings, recruited merchants, offered borrowing options, and custom-tailored the buildings to suit the needs of that business.

Jones said Windmills held the space open for several years, until it found a merchant that was a "good fit" for Madison Street and Forest Park as a whole. Two Fish, he said, was well-suited.

Offermann said a search has begun for new tenants.

"We've begun looking and working very hard, and we will bring a very worthy tenant that is consistent with the development of Madison Street and Forest Park, so we're not going to depart from the process," he said.

Two Fish's 50-percent-off liquidation sale will continue until the store closes in July, according to its website, which goes on to say: "Help us leave with dignity and shop like you mean it, for the last time. We thank you with all our hearts and we will miss you."

Reader Comments

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Mary Amico from Chicago  

Posted: February 12th, 2013 9:48 AM

If you knew anything about stained glass and the process that goes into making ityou would not be so indignant about the prices. It is a very expensive process from the purchase of the materials to the work involved in the end product. I thought for the product, they were very fair and I miss them in that location. I hope they go on to bigger and better things. Bet to you both.

Patty Reilly-Murphy from Oak Park  

Posted: June 14th, 2011 2:48 PM

The closing of Two Fish is a terrible loss for all of us. As interesting and unique as the women who ran it,people came from all over Chicagoland to shop Two Fish-and by default,at neighboring businesses as well. Tonya & Cece worked tirelessly and were the inspiration & driving force behind the Madison St resurgence that Oak Parkers both envied & enjoyed. Let us all learn from this--we need to support the local merchants who add so much to our communities. Thanks and best wishes to Tonya & Cece.

Another OP resident  

Posted: June 14th, 2011 1:05 PM

That was for the rich people.

kathryn jonas from oak park  

Posted: June 14th, 2011 10:51 AM

Two Fish is a beautiful, unique store, with great products and solid owners. Their closing will be a big loss to Madison St. and to this entire area. They had a vision for this street that they helped create and were truly engaged shopkeepers, with their customers as well as with the community. Thank you.


Posted: June 14th, 2011 10:16 AM

Did you see the prices in that store? Even in the best of times, that place was only for the River Forest rich.


Posted: June 13th, 2011 9:59 PM

One fish, Two Fish .....No Fish.

monica from OP  

Posted: June 13th, 2011 9:41 PM

I am so saddened by this news! There is not a room in our home that does not have an item from Two Fishs'. Tonya and Cece were always the most helpful friendly people to consult with...we will be in to "shop like we mean it" before the doors close.

Dan from River Forest  

Posted: June 13th, 2011 5:39 PM

Such sad news. It was always a joy to walk through their doors and into that magnificent wonderland of prairie and missionary lamps and furniture. We never could afford any -- they were just too expensive. Now their misfortune may become our good fortune, if only for a few weeks until they close.

Sarah from Oak park  

Posted: June 13th, 2011 5:06 PM

How very very sad! All of our lighting in our house is from Two Fis! I hope in some way they continue to do restoration lighting and consulting.


Posted: June 13th, 2011 4:55 PM

Wheres the story on Louie's Grill re-opening TODAY? ? ?


Posted: June 13th, 2011 4:54 PM

You mean an OP biz that moved to FP on Madison is closing? I thought FP is the cheap rent, recession and economy proof place???

Judy from River Forest  

Posted: June 13th, 2011 4:42 PM

I am so sad to see Two Fish leaving. I started my mosaic art business with a class that I took there in 2004. I have purchased all my supplies there and will miss Cece and Tonya and the great staff.

Edye from River Forest  

Posted: June 13th, 2011 4:35 PM

We will miss Two Fish as well. They provided beautiful works of stained glass art and lighting as well as great service. Two Fish created a gorgeous custom porch fixture exactly to our specifications It breaks my heart to see local quality businesses like Two Fish close their doors.

John L from Oak Park  

Posted: June 13th, 2011 4:16 PM

We shopped Two Fish over the years and are heart broken they will be closing shop. Cece made two windows for our remodeling project that were a perfect match to existing windows. It will be hard pressed to fined this kind of talent locally.

John Wood from Oak Park  

Posted: June 13th, 2011 3:59 PM

Very sorry to hear of Two Fish's closing. Loved them in Oak Park, kept with them in Forest Park, wish them the best.

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