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August 26, 2010
Community Rallies Around Lakeshore® to Keep Doors Open
CARSON, Calif.—(August 26, 2010)—It only took one sign that read “Building up for Lease” to make the historic Beverly Hills/Morgan Park neighborhood rally together to keep their beloved community Lakeshore store open.
“Lakeshore has been a fabric of the community since 1999,” states Lois Weber, executive director of the 95th Street Business Association. The association has been committed to keeping the street beautiful, safe and shopper-friendly. Weber has worked tirelessly since the mid-1980s to advocate for local businesses and to attract new businesses to the community.
Lakeshore is the only educational store amid the many specialty shops located along the charming shopping strip in the city’s bustling commercial district. The nostalgic sound of a train’s whistle can be heard in the background as pedestrians scurry along the mile-long stretch of art galleries, boutiques, gift shops and restaurants. Personal attention, unique merchandise and small-town hospitality are part of the area’s unique shopping appeal.
“The news about Lakeshore leaving spread quickly throughout the community,” explains 19th Ward Alderman Ginger Rugai. “Once the word was out, the community rallied together to keep Lakeshore local. We have a large teacher and family community, and we would have been devastated, just devastated to see Lakeshore leave. The community can make or break a business. In this case, a viral campaign emerged with e-mails being sent from one user group to another, covering everything from mommy groups to city officials, making a plea to keep the Beverly store in place.”
“It truly was remarkable to see the outcry from customers to keep Lakeshore as part of the 95th Street mix,” explains Tony Gioia, vice president of retail at Lakeshore. “We heard from tons of customers pleading for us to stay. I also received a call from Alderman Rugai’s office asking what they could do to keep Lakeshore from leaving.”
Shortly after the building owner posted the controversial lease availability sign, Lakeshore started their search for a new store location. “We didn’t find anything in the immediate area, but we did find a nice store location in Orland Park,” states Gioia. “As things moved closer to Lakeshore leaving the community, the public support was overwhelming. Lois contacted me to see what could be done. I explained that having two store locations in close proximity was unprecedented, and my hands were tied because we had a signed lease agreement in Orland Park. With the enormous support, I made a final attempt to talk to the building owners. The calls from city officials and the backing of the community certainly made our negotiations favorable. Fortunately, we were able to come to terms with a new agreement.”
The tenacious outpouring of support has changed the sign hanging on Lakeshore’s front doors from “Building up for Lease” to “We’re staying! Thanks for asking us to keep our store open.” Gioia contemplates, “This is a perfect example of listening to what the customers want. We heard them loud and clear, and, luckily, we are staying local with two stores serving a wider area.”
As Rugai suggests, “The people living in Orland Park can enjoy the same great resources, educational products and Saturday crafts that we have available. We couldn’t be more pleased to have Lakeshore staying on the block to keep the synergy intact.”
Lakeshore will keep their address at 2255 W. 95th St. The new Orland Park store is located at 15780 S. La Grange Road.