By Anna Lothson
It's not official yet, but Sleepy's, a national mattress retailer, might soon be a tenant at 1144 Lake St. — the spot formerly occupied by Borders, which closed its doors in the fall of 2011.
In June the company opened nine stores across the Chicago area, including two in the city and seven others in the suburbs. And the company says it expects eventually to open more than 100 stores in the Chicago area.
The business registration application was filed Thursday in Oak Park, indicating a projected opening date of Nov. 13 in the 6,000-square-foot space.
Loretta Daly, the village's business service manager, said it's important to note that many business applications are filed but are not approved for a number of reasons. In the case of Sleepy's, no formal lease has been signed. A business license can't be issued until that happens.
From the village's perspective, Daly said a large retailer is ideal for the space and fits the village zoning codes.
"The space is appropriate for larger retailers. That's what we would be looking for," Daly said. "They generate a significant amount of retail sales tax."
When asked if she thought Sleepy's would be a positive addition to Oak Park, Daly said, "I think it's going to be up to the market to determine that."
With news of the license application just beginning to filter out, Daly said she hasn't gotten any feedback from the business community.
The Downtown Oak Park business association has been vocal about keeping that specific space open for retail after Border's left. Last year a medical clinic tried to move into the space and Pat Zubak, the organization's former executive director, opposed the move, saying a non-retail use would "deaden the street."
DTOP Executive Director Max Austin-Williams just received notice from the village Thursday and said he couldn't comment yet on DTOP's position on the potential of Sleepy's moving in the space. He said it will be discussed at the group's board meeting next week.
According to a news release from Sleepy's, the company is a privately owned, fourth-generation company with more than 900 retail locations in 17 states from Maine to North Carolina. In June, the company announced it was expanding into the Chicago market.
"Chicago offers an excellent mix of urban and suburban locations and a population that appreciates a high-quality, high-value shopping experience," Jeff Lobb, Sleepy's chief marketing officer, wrote in the release. "We look forward to offering consumers a fresh option when they shop for a new bed."
Initially the company will fill over 150 positions across sales, management, delivery and warehouse, expecting to increase that number by 2014.