Chameleon Clothing in Oak Park closing

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By Anna Lothson

Staff Reporter

Chameleon Clothing, the independently owned and operated store for men and women in downtown Oak Park is closing next month. Chameleon is located at 130 N. Oak Park Ave. In a letter sent to its mailing list, owner Nick Heitzman wrote the following:

"Dear Friends,

After much consideration, deep thoughts and some soul searching, Norma and I have decided to close Chameleon Clothing for the foreseeable future. While we sincerely loved being here and serving this community, it has become more and more difficult to run the kind of store that we want to have available to you. Our last official day open will be June 24.

We did not come to this decision lightly. When we opened Chameleon in July of 2007, we envisioned a place where people could stop in anytime. Whether it be for casual conversation or to pick up some great creative fashions. We tried to be as accommodating to people's needs as much as humanly possible. We have had an amazing time serving the surrounding community these past five years and our little store exceeded our expectations in every way. We have made many friends along the way and have gotten to know all of you very well. I am a little choked up having to deliver this bit of news and I want each and every one of you to know that we will miss being a part of your lives.

The good news though is that we will be having a going out of business sale and all of our remaining inventory can be yours at a fraction of the price.  As of Wednesday, May 30th all our inventory will be 30 percent off. Please contact us if you would like to purchase any of our store fixtures as well.

 We wish you all the best and hope to see you in the near future.


Nick Heitzman"

Email: Twitter: @AnnaLothson

Reader Comments

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Jim Coughlin  

Posted: June 4th, 2012 1:12 PM

The Village board provides a considerable amount of tax money to recruit new enterprises, support local businesses and employ full time staff to adminster the program. Whether or not, these efforts have produced enough positive results or even represents an effective use of taxpayer funds is a question that Ray Johnson has promised to address with a public report. Hopefully, we'll see some data that justifies continuing with the current approach.

Shop local  

Posted: June 4th, 2012 12:42 PM

It's not just about subsidizing...opening a business could be made easier. More could be done to keep/draw the kinds of unique places we don't already have. The village could become a hub of innovative startups. We should be talking about what advantages we could offer to business. THAT is OP's fault...yes, stores come and go. But we should be making sure that when they go there's a great one lined up to take its place.

Stores Come and Go  

Posted: June 4th, 2012 12:27 PM

This is not an OP-unique event. Non-national retail shops are always opening and closing everywhere, all the time. They do it on Rodeo Drive, in SoHo, on Collins Ave in Miami. Closings happen for a multitude of reasons. The assumptions that "Oak Park" has something to do with this shop's closing is non-sense. And those that think the city should do more to subsidize its private operators should visit Cuba to see how that's worked out.

Sally from Oak Park  

Posted: June 3rd, 2012 8:58 AM

Opening a retail business in Oak Park is the kiss of death. I know the statistics for failure with a new business is high, but I'll bet Oak Park's is much higher than average. Oak Park Ave will continue to be a revolving door of new business. Nothing lasts on Oak Park Ave, unless you're a real estate office, newspaper, township or a shoe repair shop.

Violet Aura  

Posted: June 2nd, 2012 2:20 PM

Maybe Caribou East can finally expand! Their cafe is on the cramped side!

Sally Taylor from Oak Park  

Posted: June 2nd, 2012 11:42 AM

Oak Park is a hospice for business. They come here to die.

Stuart Leitch from Oak Park  

Posted: May 30th, 2012 6:33 PM

Chameleon's style has always been exceptionally cool. Oak Park will be a little darker without this lovely store. Good luck with whatever comes next!

Carrie Marling Bankes from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: May 30th, 2012 4:23 PM

Sorry to see Chameleon (or any business) close in Oak Park. Nick and staff always upbeat and willing to help. Great hats.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: May 30th, 2012 11:27 AM

Ray Johnson once promised that he would assemble and post information regarding Oak Park businesses that have received any tax dollar support through grants or some other type of economic development funding. He offered to provide details on how many are still open,expanded their operations or have shut their doors. It would interesting to learn about the overall effectiveness of these local programs and incentives and if tax dollars have proven to make a significant difference in the long run. Sad news for the owners of the Chameleon shop. I wish them well.

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