Opinion: Are Businesses Being Driven Away?

What is the village of Deerfield doing to bring new business to our city while helping current businesses from joining the growing ranks of those businesses that have not survived?

In driving by this week, I took a long hard look at the remnants. Because that is what is left at Deerbrook Mall. Remnants of a mall that once was busy and booming. Now, what is left is half of an entire shopping center that will soon be completely empty.

, Boston Market, Kuhn’s Delicatessen, Jamba Juice and the barbershop in Deerbrook Mall all closed, what is going to happen?

Lake Cook Road construction certainly had taken a toll us as local residents, but I had no idea the eventual repercussions for local businesses.

In addition to Deerbrook Mall woes, Cadwell Corners has continued to struggle, with Stein Mart closing this past winter and many shops in Lake Cook Plaza recently shuttering including Hooker’s Nook, Healthsouth, 71st Place Big & Tall and Diplomat Pharmacy.

In addition, in the past month restaurants  and  also closed, to the surprise and sadness of many. 

The Border’s building, soon to be a medical office building, and the building that for a short while housed Over the Border have also been sitting empty for a year or longer.

Can this be blamed completely on Lake Cook Road construction? The economy? Business cycles? Likely, all of the above. A horrible combination of timing, the recession and construction. 

As a Deerfield resident, shopping local is important to me. I like the option of going a mile or less to run to the grocery store, bookstore, pharmacy—that is part of the reason we love living in Deerfield.

The proximity to so many local businesses. With these recent and frequent closings, I am concerned. Will prospective residents choose suburbs like Northbrook or Highland Park instead of Deerfield when they see so many empty storefronts? With all these shops gone, what is going to be next? 

I look at our neighboring communities that seem to be growing and blossoming with new businesses. I look at how Highland Park transformed their Borders into four or five smaller businesses. New gelato shops, jewelry stores, restaurants—bringing people into Highland Park with events like Restaurant Week, among many others.

What is Deerfield doing to promote businesses to want to come to Deerfield? To have shoppers want to come to here? Clearly, not enough of either. I believe we need to take a lesson from our neighboring communities in order to make Deerfield the place businesses and shoppers want to be.

And while there are many businesses who survived Round One of Lake Cook Road construction, Round Two is coming next summer. What is Deerfield doing to assure we do not see another massive round of business closings? 

I think we have a lot of work to do with little time to waste.

RB April 25, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Pressure elected officials to get things moving or they get voted out. It's time for some new and original thoughts coming out of the board. Dog, tree, sign, car idling ordinances, pedestrian underpasses (that duplicate what was there), park construction? How about some retail growth? You think our taxes are high now? If this Village does not slow the spending (park district too) and increase the retail tax base, you ain't seen nothing!
TMom April 25, 2012 at 03:40 PM
I read on another thread that TJMax and Jewel are going to be the new "anchor" stores, with 14 or so smaller specialty shops being added to the mall. This is their grand plan? What a joke! As a resident (with absolutely no planning background or business background) I would be happy if they put a Mariano's, Super Target and Portillos in there, along with maybe a movie theater. Those businesses alone would be a huge draw. Long hours, a necessity for just about everyone (food, household goods, etc.) and lots of foot traffic. A crummy Jewel, a TJMax I only visit maybe twice a year, and 14 "specialty shops" that will get very little business are going to be a most definite failure.
NB April 25, 2012 at 04:34 PM
What's happened regarding retail in our community is the result of moribund thinking on the part of our local government. They prided themselves for years for keeping car dealers out of town, fighting the development of the Dominick's (it would have been too noisy and too close to a former trustee's home), desperately searching for almost 25 years (the life of the downtown TIFF district) for a developer to swoop in and create the giant hot mess of parking that is our downtown shopping district. Our trustees have prided themselves on the fact that the village government and village portion of our tax bills is the smallest. That leads to small thinking. They should be the leaders of what goes on in our community and they should lead. Instead we get a lot of back patting.
RB April 25, 2012 at 05:22 PM
Ditto. Remember, there are multiple taxing bodies in our little Village. Let's see, we've got the Feds, State and County. Now, lay in local Government (the Village). That all makes sense. Now, add a Township (explain what they do?), a Park District, 2 school districts, a library district, a water district....you may get the idea. We don't need all this Government expense associated with so many Districts. Theres less than 19,000 people! We can expect less retail sales tax for years. The Village should plan ahead..... 1) stop the expansion of the Library, roll the library into the Village 2) roll the Park District into the Village (add a couple of board seats from the park district on the Village Board, and stop paying all those park district taxes) 3) lay off Village and park Employees that did the same jobs between the Park District and the Village 4) disband the Township relationship with Deerfield and stop paying taxes to it.
Bringin' Down Briarwood April 25, 2012 at 08:46 PM
There it is, RIGHT THERE. That's 3/4 of the plan - Mariano's, Target, Portillo's. Who would object to that? Add some interesting small stores in there, a jazz club and either a movie theater and theater company for some night foot traffic. A couple restaurants will follow. I know I'm making it easier than it is, but this isn't brain surgery. If you're a village trustee, and you can't see this (vs. Jewel/TJ Maxx), it's time to bring in a consultant.


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