Is Business Booming In Evanston?

Examples of owners unafraid to open, expand or relocate in Evanston.

Have you noticed all the new business changes in Evanston lately?

Though the KFC closed at the corner of Dodge and Dempster, don’t worry about it for too long.  Chicago’s Home of Chicken & Waffles has taken over the former Napa Auto Parts store at 2424 Dempster Street. Looks like there’s still a lot of work to be done, but I’m certain the place will attract customers from Evanston and far beyond.

And, last week, as I sat in the drive-thru ATM at Chase Bank (Davis St. and Orrington Ave.) I noticed new businesses like Gigi Bottega, Adeline’s Room (recently moved from 900 Chicago Ave.) and Austin’s Tacos (see this write-up in the Daily Northwestern and this link to Evanston Land Company).

In June of this year, Giordano Dance, founded in 1952, left its Evanston location at 622 Davis (upstairs) for the Andersonville neighborhood in Chicago. However, just down the street from Giordano Dance’s former location, opened its brand new spot at the corner of Chicago Ave. and Davis St. (relocated from 500 Davis).  From the street, I think the new restaurant looks great, especially its small, outdoor seating area…but some people aren’t so excited about the new locale: Click here to read Neil B.’s September 20th review on Yelp!

Still, it’s great to see so many businesses – and so much variety -- opening, expanding and reinventing themselves in Evanston.




Lisa October 10, 2011 at 04:22 PM
Does anyone know what Business will take over the KFC on Dodge & Dempster??. It looks like they've painted the outside as if something will be moving in very soon.
Christine Wolf October 10, 2011 at 08:36 PM
I don't know what's going in there, but I'd guess it'll be another fast food chain or a wireless phone store.
Tom Fischl October 12, 2011 at 10:27 AM
As a former downtown Evanston retail business owner and the head of the newly reorganized Evanston Small Business Association (ESBA), I am equally as excited about all the new small businesses that are opening up in Evanston. Adding to your list is the Foster Street Dance Studio (915 Foster) that should pick up most of what we lost with the Gus Giordano Dance studio leaving Evanston. There is also a coffee shop about to open next door to the Dance Studio that should bring even more business to the Foster St business area. I hope in time, I will be able to reopen Ofischl Sports as Evanston could certainly use a sporting goods store in town and I can return to what I love most – owning a retail business in Evanston. What you see happening is the inevitable change in direction from a failed plan of bringing Big Box Chain stores to Evanston subsidized by the taxpayers. 15 years ago, Evanston had numerous small businesses that weren’t restaurants – Mindscape Art Gallery, Gimcracks, Ofischl Sports, Wild Child, Mostly Handmade, Bills Grocery, Private Lives, The Peking Book Store, and so on. Many of these businesses were driven out by the very high taxes and rents that made owning a small business unsustainable. Unfortunately, the Evanston government supported these high costs because it brought in additional tax revenue. To be continued....
John Brinkmann October 12, 2011 at 10:29 AM
I was semi surprised seeing KFC had closed---sort of curious if this was the franchise owner's decision or a corporate move?---all the same, across the street in the Dodge mall one can get superior fried chicken at Paninos---and the Chicken Shack on Ridge serves equally impressive fried cluck
John Brinkmann October 12, 2011 at 10:31 AM
BTW---Green Day video---very cool
Tom Fischl October 12, 2011 at 10:33 AM
Though taxes remain ridiculously high and parking enforcement is still greatly detrimental to business, landlords are beginning to do more to attract tenants with lowering rents. Landlords are also investing more capital in to their own properties so that small businesses can spend money on the business, not repairing the infrastructure of the building they are moving in to. This change in the business climate happened a few decades ago when Old Orchard opened up in Skokie and most of the Evanston chain stores left. Small the businesses then opened up in their place. The only thing preventing Evanston from really booming is our city council who believes the solution to all our problems is higher taxation and regulation. If you think your taxes are ridiculous owning a home in Evanston, you should see what businesses and landlords pay – it’s insane. The best thing Evanstonians can do now is support all the businesses in Evanston. ESBA is currently working on the Shop Evanston First! campaign for the Holidays that was very successful years ago. Thank you Christine for pointing out this very good trend for Evanston.


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