By Dan Haley
Downtown Oak Park held its 25th annual meeting Tuesday evening in an empty storefront on Marion Street. There was a good crowd of merchants, members and village officials, including Anan Abu-Taleb, Oak Park's new village president.
The meeting featured awards and elections and, as is now tradition only at meetings of the DTOP Corporation, a detailed recitation of the exact percentage of votes and proxy votes cast by both merchant members and property owners in the organization's five-year renewal of its corporate bylaws. That sort of detailed vote counting is what follows threatened lawsuits from a member over several years.
Jack Strand, a longtime property owner in downtown, was honored as Property Owner of the Year for his loving restoration of the Lake Street property now housing Falafill. Fannie May Candy/Cheryl's Cookies was honored as Merchant of the Year.
New at the meeting were the owners of the soon to open HooDoo Headwear, a hat shop on Marion Street, which pledges a wide assortment of headgear for men and women, mostly American made. One of the owners is making a return to Oak Park retail. He worked for several years at Bogart's, a store that featured "contemporary men's fashions" on Lake Street in the 1980s.
Terry McCollom, owner of McCollom Realty, was sworn in as the group's new president. He succeeds Bob Johnson, owner of Sushi House, who has been president the past two years.