Everyday Edgebrook Meeting
Re: Construction Challenges
August 1, 2018
The meeting began at 6:15 pm. Jan Kupiec, Everyday Edgebrook (EE) welcomed representatives of Edgebrook Community Association (ECA) and the Edgebrook-Sauganash Chamber of Commerce (ESCC) to discuss the threat Sewer Construction has created for our local businesses.
The three groups explored strategies to support Edgebrook stories -- some of whom have suffered a 50% drop in business during the 7-month construction, and, what can be done to boost traffic in the stores, during and after construction expected to be completed until November.
As a result of the July 25thConstruction meeting with representatives of Ald. Laurino, Ald, Napolitano, Metra, Chicago Dept of Sewers, EE, ECA and the Chamber (ESCC).
First, a list of all upcoming events was created by the EE, ECA and ESCC.
Upcoming Edgebrook Events
September 7 Comedy Event North Branch Arts
October 6 Art & Wine Walk EE
Saturdays/Sept Farmers’ Market EE
First Fridays First Fridays ESCC
October 31 Halloween Happenings ESCC
Nov 3 (TBA) Beer Stroll EE
Holiday The Lights/
Cookie Walk November 25 EE
Holiday Stroll November 25 ECA
Sleigh Rides early Dec. ESCC
Carrie Kelleher, EE, is highlighting different businesses on Nextdoor Edgebrook and the EE sites. Dennis Hammer, said the ESCC (Chamber) is doing the same and has put out a map of all the Edgebrook businesses.
Everyday Edgebrook indicated that the stores are concerned that people have changed their shopping habits since the construction began on Devon. There was a general discussion about why people were not shopping in Downtown Edgebrook. ESCC suggested that the ECA and EE poll its members to see why they aren’t shopping in the area, and what would entice them to come back to our stores. Several ECA members said they don’t think Edgebrook residents realize the grave situation our stores are facing. So, it was agreed that each group would send a survey money to their mailing lists, including NBA. Laura Guenther, EE, will write the survey monkey laying out the crisis and to find out how to bring shoppers to the area.
During the meeting with the Aldermen in July, EE insisted that there needs to be a piece/brochure to lure people back to the area. The Aldermen indicated that they would help in paying for a mass mailing. The participants agreed that a brochure would be most effective when the construction was coming to the end.
EE said that a number of stores have complained that most of their profits are generated from Labor day to the Holidays. During the last week because of the construction, Ruk had to close for several days, Pet Wants had a day with no customers and one store made less than $10. All of this despite the fact that -- there is parking available, behind the stores on both blocks adjacent to the railroad. Several store owners expressed their concerns that shoppers may have changed their shopping habits to avoid the construction mess over the last seven months.
Several attendees suggested that the stores need an immediate action to help them.
The group explored several ideas like discount parking (not available); suing the City and Metra or asking the City for a break on sales taxes- both would take too long; or holding a fundraiser which wouldn’t bring more money to the stores.
EE indicated that unless we do something quickly, 3 more months of construction could result in some stores closing. EE suggested a large event right now, something like the November Cookie walk which would bring large numbers of people to the street, get them into the stores and give us the ability to advertise and promote through the media the plight of our stores.
Several suggestions were made: Grand Opening of the Eastern part of Devon, a raffle, Save Our Shops event, Underground Street Party, Close the Street Party, a Wine Walk (we have one) or Take Back Our Streets event.
Finally, there was a consensus to pursue the following:
Save Our Shops: A Big Block Partyto be held on Sept. 1st(2ndchoice Sept. 8th) the event will be held rain or shine from 10am to 6pm.
Margaret Nagle, EE/NBA will write a release for the event.
Ask Dennis Hammer, ESCC will ask Alderman Laurino and Gina Metalica, EE will ask Ald. Napolitano to get the permits to close the street on Devon from Central and blocking access from Kinzua and the exit next to the Currency Exchange.
Laura Guenther, EE will arrange for artists with tents for the Event, Jeanne Marie Schultz, EE will ask the restaurants to offer a Block Party Special, Jeff Manuel and Mary Biesty agreed that the ECA would provide a Children’s program, and street musicians will be sought.
The Block Party will include a Raffle or Lucky Shoppers Drawing, to bring attendees into our stores. Every store receipt (with shopper’s name, address and phone number) that day will be one ticket to the Drawing. Jim Kersten, Edgebrook Cycle offered a Bike for the raffle, and Dennis with Wintrust Bank offered a large TV or like prize.
Justin Ochonicki, EE/ECA will design a large postcard to be mail out to residents. The cost to be divided between ECA, ESCC and EE. The post office can provide the number of mailers needed. Carrie Kelleher and Laura Guenther will get quotes for the costs.
All the businesses will be asked to participate even those on other blocks.
Further, the groups will continue efforts to create a brochure paid for distribution by the Aldermen targeted at bring back shoppers as the construction ends.
Jan Kuipec, EE, suggested that Congressman Qugley should be asked to intervene to reduce the number of freight cars going through the Metra tracks. It seems that after a recent accident a number of Canadian freight trains were rerouted to our line, and have just continued to use it, resulting in a more traffic disruptions for our downtown area. Mary Biesty, ECA, volunteered to talk to Congressman Quigley about the situation.
It was further agreed that all the groups would use the flyer and press release to assure a unified message.
The meeting ended at 7:55pm.