What Businesses Would You Like to See in Downtown Libertyville?

Do you think there is something missing downtown?

With the recent closures of two downtown Libertyville businesses—Wisma and Soccer Plus—we want to know: what would you like to see in those spots?

Soccer Plus announced earlier this month that it would close its Libertyville and Palatine stores. The Libertyville store closed and its merchandise was moved to the Palatine store for a liquidation sale, according to the Daily Herald Business Ledger.

More recently, Wisma closed its doors Jan. 15. A sign on the door read: "Thank you for your patronage. Effective 1/15/13 Libertyville Wisma is closed. Please visit us at our Lake Bluff Wisma Store."

Wisma owner John des Rosiers couldn't be reached for comment.

What would you like to see in these vacant storefronts? What do you think is missing downtown?

Share your thoughts in the comment section!

Michael Fagan January 18, 2013 at 09:24 PM
A spice store like The Spice House (Evanston) or Penzey's would be great.
Treana Bushing January 18, 2013 at 10:18 PM
wow, baby shops and wing shacks, what a nightmare. I was thinking a classy approach and more urban. Pizza places, Barnes and Noble, well Borders went out of Business in HP. Tea Room for sure..Sushi is so 10 minutes ago. It is hopeless, thank God for a car to get a taste of the city, this town will never get there.
Treana Bushing January 18, 2013 at 10:20 PM
now that is for sure, sick of driving to Evanston for the Spice House, love that place. Now your taste is good
Treana Bushing January 18, 2013 at 10:20 PM
exactly, two so far on here get it
Treana Bushing January 18, 2013 at 10:21 PM
Sunset is the only place to get good meat
Jennifer Gierman Eulberg January 18, 2013 at 10:42 PM
A quilt & knitting shop.
Jim January 18, 2013 at 11:12 PM
I agree with the Spice House and maybe a Williams-Sonoma store. How about a high quality men's casual clothes stores like The Territory Ahead. P.S. A Pita Inn will open in feb. in Mundelein-try the shish-kabob sandwich.
gary schlesinger January 18, 2013 at 11:54 PM
borders went out of business nationally. libertyville never was the city and probably never will be. it was a small farm town that got transformed into a bed room suburb.
Mr. Friendly January 19, 2013 at 08:23 AM
More bars! Milwaukee Avenue... aka DUI highway every Friday and Saturday night!
Nicole Bushing January 19, 2013 at 09:24 AM
tea house, spice shop, Red Hen Bakery, and a great Middle Eastern Restaurant.
GirlOnTheGo January 19, 2013 at 01:54 PM
Highland Park has its own issues, too. They are not impervious to stores closing up, in fact they recently lost Saks and Corner Bakery. Libertyville could definitely be an upscale shopping destination like Highland Park, Evanston, Geneva, etc. However, it will never happen if people continue to have a negative attitude about what is already trying to take root in town. Niche stores can do well, but residents will have to understand that these stores are not trying to be like or compete with chains like Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn, Williams-Sonoma. As of right now, those stores are the Gold Standard, which is not setting the bar very high at all.
GirlOnTheGo January 19, 2013 at 02:06 PM
Chains do not make a town great, nor should they be the standard that every other store is held to. There is no comparison between the purchasing power of a national or international company and a family run business. Large chains receive large tax incentives and through loop holes and do not contribute their fair share (based on sales) to the community, actually only about $43 out of every $100 that is spent vs. $68 in an independently owned store/ restaurant. Ask Mariano's to donate to your church's fundraiser or your child's little league, it won't happen. But, more than likely if you come downtown you're going to get some support because they believe in the power of community. Community is a two way street, both ends need to support one another. So, basically the town will be great if we just allow "successful" chains that are a dime a dozen to open and become a glorified outdoor mall? As a town that is on the national historic record, I can't see how that would be beneficial to any of us.
GirlOnTheGo January 19, 2013 at 02:15 PM
I would love to see a a quaint tea house with a large selection of nice teas. Some place quiet to read a book or catch up with friends. Beautiful snacks would be a bonus as well.
GirlOnTheGo January 19, 2013 at 02:16 PM
I think that Singalila fills the void of the much loved and missed Present Moment. They have lots of beautiful, inspirational gifts.
GirlOnTheGo January 19, 2013 at 02:18 PM
Someone's in the Kitchen carries spices, I'm sure if the demand was there they would have a larger selection. But, people need to be vocal about what they are looking for. Between Someone's in the Kitchen and Oh Olive, we basically have the independent counterparts to WS.
Kathleen January 19, 2013 at 02:41 PM
There is a good card shop: How Impressive! just south of Viva la Vine.
Kathleen January 19, 2013 at 02:52 PM
The comments here indicate that Libertyville doesn't know what it is and what it wants to be. Libertyville has changed a lot. (I've been in the area since 1983.) With all of the bars, tattoo parlors and "spas," I feel as if Libertyville likes to think of itself as Bedford Falls, but acts like it's Pottersville. It used to be a much more family-oriented town, with a strong focus on children. Now it's focus is food and drink, drink, drink. The stores that catered to families and children are the stores that keep disappearing. Even if they don't disappear, a lot of them are having a really rough time. Markets shift, and there is usually a difference between what people say they want and what they really want. They vote with their dollars. Having owned a store in down town Libertyville, I can attest to the fact that these retail, niche stores have a rough time. Let's face it: you don't shop down town because it's too expensive. The rents are fairly high, and small shops have a lot of overhead to cover. Even if you carry things that you can't readily get anywhere else in person, you are still competing with the Internet. People will walk into your store and pull up Amazon on their phones and order it right there, usually for 30%-50% less. Niche stores have no buying power if they are not a chain. Real money is at risk in these shops, and they shouldn't be viewed as window dressing for the town's main drag. You have to shop at these stores, or they will close.
gary schlesinger January 19, 2013 at 03:03 PM
no, the comments responded to the question which was what do the responders want to see in down town lib. different people want different things. shopping in town is not too expensive. the cooking store has comparable prices to william sonoma and is more convenient. the bootery has good shoes reasonably priced and again very convenient. the chocolate shop must be doing ok. it has been there over ten years. perhaps your store did not work because the goods offered were not what the public wanted to buy. rents now should be low. there are empty stores here and elsewhere. those who charge rents too high continue to have vacancies.
Kathleen January 19, 2013 at 03:19 PM
We had a toy store with a lot of educational toys. As we were preparing to close, another toy store moved in. That one lasted only a year. Evidently, people in Libertyville do not want toys. Again, it's my observation that a children-centered or family-centered store does not do as well in Libertyville as they were doing many years ago. The Soccer Plus store was in a high-rent spot--really high. It may be lower now, but keep in mind that a lot of stores moved in when rents were high. Someone else made a comment that school enrollment is down. Most of the people who raised their kids when mine were growing up are still here, which may indicate that the market shift has to do with those children now being 20-somethings who were raised here and their parents. Again, it is just an observed shift in the market, and the stores you mentioned would do as well in a primarily adult market as in the family-centered market. That said, too expensive is a subjective concept. A lot of people are struggling right now, and they are looking for bargains, making it even tougher for niche retailers.
gary schlesinger January 19, 2013 at 03:23 PM
people in lib. do want toys. my wife and i frequented that store weekly. it was not downtown. it was not on milwaukee ave at rockland. it was on rockland so not that visible. there was no advertising in print or mail. i never found it on line. the goods were great. reasonably priced and the owners very helpful. we were told there were about 100 loyal customers but they needed 300. it seems to me that they did not seek them out by advertising.
Kathleen January 19, 2013 at 03:58 PM
My store, Whatsit & Doohickey Co., was on Milwaukee Ave downtown. Toy Station was on Rockland, and it was a secondary location for Toy Station in Lake Forest. Both TS stores are now closed. Toy Station opened up right after we had made the decision to close. Of course, they didn't know that because we closed a few months later. We also had a base of loyal customers, and we really appreciate those who came by often. But to cover all of your overhead you need a larger average ticket or more customers or better wholesale pricing. I agree that we did not invest as much time and money as we should have in advertising and promotion. I'm not expressing sour grapes here, but using my experience to illustrate what I have observed as a change in Libertyville. There may be others reading this that are thinking of opening up here, and Main St. and the EDC are not going to give them anything but positive feedback on whatever they want to open up, regardless of the market. If someone is thinking of opening a store in Libertyville, they should look at what kinds of stores have not made it over the past several years and study that. Can they do it better? Maybe. We don't regret the experience, because many good things came out of it. In any case, other than a baby boutique, not one person here has expressed a desire for something specifically family-oriented. Tea rooms, Trader Joe's, spice shops...you get the picture.
Ed January 19, 2013 at 04:29 PM
Kathleen - I mentioned school enrollment being down, and it is. Libertyville's population is getting older and not as many "young" families are moving in. The Toy Store failed caused they were opened from 10am - 5pm, when kids are in school and the parents are at work. The Internet has hurt small retail business more than the "big box" stores, the overhead is much higher now which makes it harder to stay competitive. Has anyone seen how many house are up for sale? It's getting too expensive to live in L'ville which is taking away spending money from families.
carol J. Biegalski January 19, 2013 at 04:46 PM
It would be nice to have a bookstore/used book store that had an open stage for local musicians on weekends. It could be combined with a tea/coffee shop. They could hostess book clubs and writing groups. Another great addition would be an Art Gallery with original Art. We need places to enrich our lives, not places to just numb our senses
OLDtimer January 20, 2013 at 01:57 AM
Lived in L'ville long enough to tell you I used to go to the AP downtown and pickup grocerys for my Mom. Libertyville has changed and not necessarily for the better. I try and tell myself to shop downtown, I love the Olive Oil store and will miss WISMA. Lovin Oven lost my business - way too rude. Libertyville needs to attract consumers with time and money and that means - KIDS. My HS kids hang at Chipolte and 5guys. They often go right passed the cook area when the wallet is less full and go to taco bell and Mcdonalds. I expect any business that doesn't like the tween/teen demographic to struggle.
gary schlesinger January 20, 2013 at 04:14 AM
i have never had a rude or any other bad experience at lovin oven. always helpful friendly, free cookies to the grandkids. great products. reasonably priced.
QT Pie January 20, 2013 at 05:17 AM
I'd love an eclectic coffee, tea, scone, yogurt, new/used books, cards, some live music type shop that is open til at least 11p. A destination *besides* bars. Another cool idea is we always visit in Key West. Called "Better Than Sex," it's wine, coffees, teas, and lavish desserts ONLY, open from 9p-1a. Almost pitch dark, a flashlight is provided to read the entertaining menu. The place does fabulous business! I'd love one here!
Libertyville Mom January 22, 2013 at 05:34 PM
I wondered what happended you your store. I bought a $25 gift certificate and soon after the store was closed! The guy/owner? at the counter never mentioned that the store was closing!
Kathleen January 22, 2013 at 05:51 PM
Libertyville Mom: You very likely purchased the gift card at least two months before we closed. We were originally planning to stay open through Christmas, but found that we were not able to do so. We closed out all merchandise through the month of September. We announced the closing to Patch, on FaceBook, and posted a lot of signs. That said, I will be happy to refund your unused gift certificate if you still have it.
Brian L. January 22, 2013 at 06:04 PM
I have heard others speak of poor service at Lovin Oven, but I haven't received it either. Like Mr. Schlesinger my experiences there have been great. They did a great job on my son's first birthday cake and the woman at the counter was extremely helpful.
JJ January 29, 2013 at 06:47 PM
How anyone can suggest that we need another niche shop is beyond me. Per Kathleen's experience and comments, we all love the idea of a toy store, but when we can find these toys on Amazon at 50 - 75% of the price, we'll buy there - especially the big ticket items that provide decent revenue for the small shops. The problem is not a demographic one: My wife and I are city transplants with 2 young children, and there are tons of residents just like us. A retailer that survives will have to attract walking-distance residents on a regular (weekly) basis. I would love to see a butcher/fresh produce shop in town. As a resident right off Milwaukee, I can walk to get almost anything but fresh groceries. I could see making daily trips into town with my kids when I get home from work to see what we can make for dinner. A focus on locally sourced produce would guarantee a constant variety. All of the new residents on School Street in 2013 would probably keep such a place alive single-handedly. A tea shop might work, but it would have to drive either Starbucks or Caribou out - there's not room for 3. A good one probably would drive one of them out. I think a good deli downtown would also work. NYC Bagel on North Ave in the city is a good example of what a crowd a delicious breakfast sandwich can bring. Even better, put in a deli that serves good coffee....


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