A popular Oak Park retailer is leaving her home on Harrison Street for greener pastures. But Careful Peach Boutique isn’t moving to Forest Park, instead settling into bigger space in downtown Oak Park.
Owner Karen Morava has been considering a move for about six months, with business bustling at her shop, a “French-inspired department store” that’s focused on eco-friendly and luxury goods. She loves the Oak Park Arts District, where Careful Peach has been since opening five years ago, but needed more space to grow her venture.
“I’m very sad; this is an incredibly hard choice for me,” said Morava, an Oak Park resident since 1988 who also lives on Harrison. “The decision was based strictly on when larger space became available and that’s it,” she added. “There’s no other reason for me to leave Harrison Street, because I have a good, solid clientele who I think would follow me anywhere in the village.”
Careful Peach will get one-third bigger than its current 750-square-foot spot at 128 Harrison. The 1,000-square-foot new storefront will offer extra space for Morava to expand her offerings while increasing her visibility.
She signed the new lease Thursday, for the store at 1024 North Blvd., which was last occupied by E’Stylo. The lease was brokered by David King & Associates.
With the move, Morava will expand her inventory of kids clothing, offering more organic, locally made Onesies, T-shirts for babies, blankets, toys and stuffed animals. She also plans to break her shop into small sections emulating people’s homes – living room, bedroom, dining room – to show off her products as they would appear in use.
Careful Peach will open its new shop on April 1, almost six years after the original store opened. Morava, a professional artist, started up the store at 11 Harrison in her husband Peter Morava’s glass shop. “I slowly and surely kept pushing him out,” and after a year and a half, she had to expand to her current place at 128 Harrison.
Val Camilletti, owner of Val’s halla Records on Harrison, was saddened to hear that Careful Peach is leaving the village’s arts district.
She believes the small retail strip needs more retailers to help keep regular foot traffic and visitors coming to shop there.
“I’m sorry that that’s happening because that was a really nice store to have here,” Camilletti said. “But people have to make decisions based on their own survival, and it’s a tough time now for everybody. So I’m sure that all came into play.”
After the success Careful Peach has had since opening, Morava is confident that the new location will bear fruit.
“My shop is doing very well,” she said. “I don’t think there are a lot of people who can say they love their job, but I love my job. I can’t wait to get up every morning. And, surprisingly, I’m not nervous at all.”