Retail is Hard - Even For A Superstar

Getting Down to Business with the OPRF Chamber

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By Cathy Yen

Executive Director OPRF Chamber of Commerce

Saturday's annual street festival through the Oak Park Arts District was absolutely delightful.  A picturesque day, interesting vendors and a nice-sized crowd combined for a successful What's Blooming on Harrison.  Congratulations to the many volunteers who worked so hard to create a terrific community experience.

We enjoyed browsing the many artwork, jewelry and textile booths.  One in particular drew us in, with magnetic colors, fabrics you just had to touch and an eye-catching assortment of drapey women's clothing.  My friend and I exchanged knowing shrugs when we saw the label.  Of course.   Takara.

Takara is back. Back in the original location at 140 Harrison where she first opened her retail store years ago.  The "PopShop" name implies a temporary lease but from the looks of it, she may be there longer.

Takara's many fans and customers swarmed her to welcome back an old friend.  Those of us who left with logoed shopping bags in hand nodded gleefully as people stopped us in the street. "Takara's back?! Where?"

Takara is one of our own.  An engaging and talented fashion designer who chose Oak Park to establish herself.  She started in the tiny store on Harrison and eventually moved to larger digs on Marion Street in Downtown Oak Park.  Though one can never know the true dynamics of another's retail operation, it was a surprise when she closed over a year ago.  Word was, she would focus on designing, trunk shoes and online sales.

And now she is back.  Back in the small storefront.  Someone remarked how gratifying it must be for her to be welcomed so heartily. And I am sure that is true.  But when Takara and I talked a bit, this amazing strong woman said in a quiet voice only another retailer would understand, "I was just tired."

Retail is hard.  It is relentless. It is day to day.  It may generate profits but not necessarily riches.  An inexhaustible artist over time can become an exhausted shopkeeper.  Even when everything is going well.

Welcome back, Takara.  You earned your sabbatical. We are glad to see you rested and ready for more retail.

Email: Twitter: @OPRFChamber

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Reader Comments

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James West  

Posted: May 24th, 2016 10:38 AM

Of course retail is a difficult business, just like any other type of business. You move to a new location, and expect to increase sales. With the new projects being built, and all of the talk about how there is a new way of shopping in Oak Park, according to Cathy Yen Executive Director OPRF Chamber of Commerce, where you park your car, and spend the day, walking around the mall to shop, maybe this would have worked out. It is nice to have a retailer continue to stay in business, instead of going out of business. As for Val Camilletti, that was a lousy to have her move out of South Boulevard, to Harrison street. Business always seemed good on South Boulevard, and fortunately, Val Camilletti, has loyal customers who appreciate a woman, who knows all about what she sells.

Val Camilletti from Oak Park  

Posted: May 24th, 2016 8:08 AM

Take it from one who knows. After almost 50 years behind that sales counter, I can confirm - "retail is hard", but those welcome back hugs and those excited smiles can go a long way to make it easier. Welcome back, Takara --- it's great to have you home.

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