As a small business owner of both Bee Home and Garden and HOME Oak Park, I can tell you it’s been a challenge to reimagine this neglected stretch of Chicago Avenue between Lombard and Taylor.

Sometimes people ask me why I chose to open two stores on this retail desert of east Chicago Avenue. I guess it’s because I love a project, I believe in Oak Park, and I want to be an agent of change.

Our stores are pretty, and we are beyond happy to have the support of our communities. For that, I am eternally grateful.

At the same time, I am totally dismayed that the village of Oak Park is so willing to cause me headaches. The litany is long, but let’s just start with today. I, with the permission of the village, put up Christmas lights on the parkway. It looks fancy and festive. Today, an Oak Park inspector showed up at the store. He wanted to know about our permits for the lights that had already been approved.

I’m sorry, but I don’t have time for this kind of stuff. I’m a business woman; it’s my busiest time of the year. I don’t need to waste time on the Christmas light patrol.

Taxpayer dollars are spent on these village employees. And their job is to do what? Make the neighborhood gloomier? I don’t get it.

I am thankful for our customers. We will get it right.

Colleen Maia

Bee Home and Garden

 HOME Oak Park

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