Survey says Target, Crate & Barrel ideal for Borders space in Oak Park

Oak Parkers make their suggestions for high-profile storefront

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter

By Marty Stempniak

Staff Reporter

An urban-style Target or Crate & Barrel are two of the most desired replacements once Borders leaves the corner of Harlem and Lake, according to a recent survey conducted by the Village of Oak Park.

More than 500 people responded to the online questionnaire, which was posted on the village's website and emailed to residents. Borders is in the process of selling off its inventory, and is expected to shut down by the end of September.

Most desired, according to a village press release, is a "general merchandise" store to take over Borders' space, suggested by about 23 percent of respondents. That was followed by a department store (19.4 percent) and an electronics retailer (15 percent).

As far as specific brands, the most-mentioned retailer was Crate & Barrel, with about 82 percent of respondents suggesting the home-furnishing chain. Other favorites included Target (78 percent), Macy's (76.4 percent) and Apple (72.1 percent).

Village hall emphasized that it has no control over what tenant takes up the space, but officials hope the survey might influence the building's management, according to a press release.

Oak Park Borders replacement survey summary

Love the Journal?

Become our partner in independent community journalism

Thanks for turning to Wednesday Journal and We love our thousands of digital-only readers. Now though we're asking you to partner up in paying for our reporters and photographers who report this news. It had to happen, right?

On the plus side, we're giving you a simple way, and a better reason, to join in. We're now a non-profit -- Growing Community Media -- so your donation is tax deductible. And signing up for a monthly donation, or making a one-time donation, is fast and easy.

No threats from us. The news will be here. No paywalls or article countdowns. We're counting on an exquisite mix of civic enlightenment and mild shaming. Sort of like public radio.

Claim your bragging rights. Become a digital member.

Donate Now

Reader Comments

32 Comments - Add Your Comment

Note: This page requires you to login with Facebook to comment.

Comment Policy

Dean Scarpinato  

Posted: October 11th, 2013 4:10 PM

More low priced housing. Seriously any time I need to shop I leave Oak Park. The parking sucks and so do the taxes. Oak Brook and Yorktown are 15 mins away.

Larry from Oak Park  

Posted: August 13th, 2011 9:06 AM

It does not matter what the survey says, Oak Park village board does what it wants anyway. And make sure that the village board gives whoever goes in there a HUGE tax break - cause I like to pay more taxes!

Kelly from Oak Park  

Posted: August 12th, 2011 1:45 PM

I think an *urban* style Target/Crate & Barrell umeans there will be parking levels built underground, similar to the Oak Park Library, or the Crate & Barrell in an equally tiny building at North & Clybourn. I personally would love to see a Target there - I'd rarely need to leave the village if that was the case! :)

Hungry from OP  

Posted: August 12th, 2011 2:11 AM

Put a Maggiano's in there. Good place before or after a movie.

Jane from Forest Park, IL  

Posted: August 10th, 2011 8:39 PM

A ping pong club/restaurant/bar/nightclub a la Susan Sarandon-owned Spin Milwaukee or Spin New York: Ping pong is an Olympic sport that is growing in popularity in the US and Chicago area. It's a great family sport as well. It shouldn't take too much trouble to set up flooring and some tables, and the cafe would make a nice bar/restaurant area. I think Spin Milwaukee has really taken off.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: August 10th, 2011 2:31 PM

Good idea, Pauline.

Julie from Oak Park  

Posted: August 9th, 2011 11:33 AM

Parking could be pseudo-resolved if a garage was built across the street on the current surface lot. Another option that I forgot to identify when I filled out the survey was The Container Store :-)

Pauline from Oak Park  

Posted: August 9th, 2011 11:15 AM

what ever store goes in, they need a back entrance from off the alley (more convenient from the parking garage)

Madhu D. from Oak Park  

Posted: August 9th, 2011 9:07 AM

I agree with the commenter who stated that anyone that signs the lease and pays the rent reliably is best for the site. If this individual Borders was profitable, would a Barnes and Noble be a more practical idea? We already have a proven business model that doesn't need much study in that case. Just wondering. Oak Park is a nice community but there is sometimes a lack of practicality in local governance.

Luke Scottwalker from Oak Park  

Posted: August 8th, 2011 3:41 PM

It's a perfect location for an upscale gentlemans/ladies club, akin to a combo Chippendale's/Badda Bing. Something for every adult in town, regardless of persuasion. It's time we came full circle from our puritan/WCTU past and embraced our liberalism/libertarianism completely. Yes, with cigar rooms, bar food, liquor, and you could even keep the nice cafe/reading room and incorporate it into the theme. It must also be on Indian lands, so a casino would also generate much $$. Who's with me, OP???

Gina Robbins from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 8th, 2011 11:22 AM

Love the Wonderworks idea--look at how well Dupage has done with their Children's Museum with similar public transit access. Really any cultural center would be welcome there. Oak Park also needs a full-fledged Art Center, to include ceramic, glass, metal works, textile and all the standard visual arts. Many smaller institutions are contributing in this regard--how marvelous it would be to have a centralized institution to bring it all together!

OP Guy  

Posted: August 8th, 2011 3:12 AM

No public storage, please! Being as it's a high profile corner in the village, I think it's important for it to be a place that attracts people to the area, not because they have to, but because they want to .


Posted: August 7th, 2011 10:55 PM

I think the old Linens n' Things would be a great space for a Create and Barell or Target. How about a public Storage for Lake and Harlem?

Fawn Lebowitz from oak Park  

Posted: August 7th, 2011 8:18 PM

Tasty Dog would be perfect for the old borders store.


Posted: August 7th, 2011 1:31 PM

There is a resurgence in sewing, quilting and the use of textiles in creative arts. I'd love to have an upscale fabric and quilting shop there or elsewhere in the village.

OP Guy  

Posted: August 7th, 2011 3:16 AM

Please, no more big box stores, dollar chains... people have enough crap, even if they don't know it and continually feel compelled to keep buying crap.

OP Guy  

Posted: August 7th, 2011 3:11 AM

Katie from OP, very good suggestion about something like WonderWorks... Though I think the Chicago Childrens Museum would be a better model. I think that is something that could bring in a lot of customers and visitors. It would be more unique compared to just another big box store that wants you to buy, buy, buy... There are so many families in OP and near by burbs that it could be a real draw from people (if done to the standard of Chicago Childrens Museum).

Vince from Chicago  

Posted: August 6th, 2011 10:37 PM

McMillan and Doolittle retail consultants may be helping to bring Dollar General to the Borders location. Dollar General is in the midst of a massive store expansion and Oak Park is perfect demographic fit for their plans.

Mrs. Staunchly from River Forest   

Posted: August 6th, 2011 7:05 PM

Corner Bakery. Land office business.

T.J. from OP  

Posted: August 6th, 2011 4:00 PM

A Dollar Tree store might work well at the location in question.

Katie from Oak Park  

Posted: August 5th, 2011 3:25 PM

I just don't know what kind of retailer Oak Parkers would really support due to the high Cook County sales taxes that drive business to DuPage and online. It would have to be something unique that can't be gotten there. I personally would love to see WonderWorks or a similar kids learning-experience/museum expand there. Could bring in train passengers and drive some traffic downtown to other retailers if it offered party space and events. Just don't know if the finances could work.


Posted: August 5th, 2011 1:55 PM

You are not visionaries. I can see 270 new tennants pushing their carts down Lake Street toward their homes in the Sertus skyscraper! :)

Lori M   

Posted: August 5th, 2011 1:34 PM

Thoughts: Lou's is so much better than Giordano's-that's a great idea! Harlem & Lake cannot handle the kind of traffic that would ensue with a Target or Crate & Barrel. Besides, that space isn't even big enough for those two retailers!

Parking R Us  

Posted: August 5th, 2011 1:08 PM

Target and Crate and Barrell require "convenient' parking in which a shopper can bring a cart full of goodies TO their vehicle. What doesnt the village get about that? We will be having the same discussion in 5 yrs.

Walter White  

Posted: August 5th, 2011 12:34 PM

Lou Malnati's can replace Giordanos, which appears to be imploding chain-wide.

Phil of Ideas  

Posted: August 5th, 2011 12:33 PM

So if the plurality of survey respondents said they wanted a massage parlor/adult book store, the Village would encourage the building management to put one in? Earlier poster is right: the best tenant is one that signs a lease and pays their rent.


Posted: August 4th, 2011 9:42 PM

We definately need a LouMalnati's!

Makes Sense from Oak Park  

Posted: August 4th, 2011 6:05 PM

Open up a sub station of Village Hall for parking permits and paying tickets. There isn't enough parking at Village Hall, and it would help increase revenue for the park garage.

mv113 from OP  

Posted: August 4th, 2011 3:56 PM

If Target were looking for a small footprint, urban store they woul have already moved into the RFTC just across the street. The same goes for all the other stores listed. There is adequate free parking and the store would be on one level. This is just a fantasy list put together by the village. I'm sure we'll be throwing some TIF money at some out of town company to try to fill the space. If the village would engage itself in reality, instead of pipe dreams, we would all be better off.

Mari from Oak Park  

Posted: August 4th, 2011 3:48 PM

I can't imagine Crate and Barrel moving into the space when there is a C&B nearby in Oak Brook and, of course, in Chicago.

epic lulz  

Posted: August 4th, 2011 2:38 PM

What will influence building mgmt is someone willing to sign a lease.

Simon from Oak Park  

Posted: August 4th, 2011 2:35 PM

Simon says Crate & Barrel will never happen in Oak Park. But, keep dreaming if it makes you happy.

Facebook Connect

Answer Book 2019

To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2019 Answer Book, please click here.

Quick Links

Sign-up to get the latest news updates for Oak Park and River Forest.

MultimediaContact us
Submit Letter To The Editor
Place a Classified Ad