In the window at 1020 Lake, one mannequin isn’t in the Italian sportswear that Elaine Kostopulos’s downtown Oak Park shop is known for.
Rather than modeling the latest threads from United Colors of Benetton, this mannequin is in a paper outfit of neon orange – that shade often seen on windshields around town.
“I did it for good business,” Kostopulos says of the parking-ticket ensemble she put together for the mannequin. What she called a ticket fairy for a Halloween display has morphed into a ticket turkey for Thanksgiving: an investment piece, you might say, that would run you hundreds of dollars.
There are 64 parking tickets altogether, 10 of them from customers who missed meter times because they were shopping in Benetton.
Kostopulos, no stranger to paying parking tickets at village hall, covered these for her customers. The remaining 54 tickets are her own.
The daughter of a former village trustee (Gus Kostopulos) and a veteran of downtown retail in Oak Park (she started out as a clerk at Marshall Field’s), Kostopulos is both an observer of local parking issues and a cheerleader for putting them aside. The display is a holiday tradition for her. She says she wants the ticketed mannequin to be a show of good store policy and “a silent protest on parking issues.”
Her greater message, Kostopulos says, is “shop downtown Oak Park. We have wonderful retailers.”
– Matthew Wilson