Bob Bong on Business: Hobo stores closing
By Bob Bong
In 1996, Home Owners Bargain Outlet rose out of the ashes of the Handy Andy bankruptcy.
The chain of discount home improvement stores eventually grew to seven including locations at 8716 S. Cicero Ave. in Oak Lawn and 1693 Plainfield Road in Crest Hill. Other suburban stores were in Forest Park, Villa Park, and Waukegan, with two more in Wisconsin.
Now, HOBO, as the stores are known, is about to suffer the same fate as Handy Andy. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy late last month and has started liquidation sales.
The chain reported sales of nearly $80 million in 2017 and employed more than 200 people.
HOBO’s lead bankruptcy attorney, Jonathan Friedland of Sugar Felsenthal Grais & Helsinger LLP, stated in a release, “Brick and mortar retail, of course, has been decimated in recent years and the story of retail generally is very much a part of HOBO’s story. But other factors also contributed, including intense competition from new and rapidly expanding competitors, and a slowing of discretionary spending, including do-it-yourself home projects.”
HOBO, according to Friedland, engaged a store-liquidation firm that is helping the company conduct store-wide sales.
“HOBO stores remain open and remain a great place to shop. Its motto has always been, ‘You never know what you will find but you will always find it for less!’ It’s going to be truer over the next couple of weeks than ever before.”
Closing sales are expected to last through mid-December.
Pop-up shop now open at Chicago Ridge Mall
Bath and body shop owned by a Bridgeview woman and her two sisters opened last week as a pop-up shop at Chicago Ridge Mall in Chicago Ridge.
Evelia Aguirre-Torres owns De Mi Tierra Natural Bath & Body with her sisters Sandra Aguirre and Lorena Aguirre. They make a variety of all natural, hand-crafted bath and body products such as sugar scrubs, natural deodorants, natural face masks and nontoxic home cleaners.
“My sisters and I are beyond grateful for the opportunity to service the guests at Chicago Ridge,” Aguirre-Torres said in a release. “My sisters and I grew up in the South Side and Chicago Ridge was always our go-to mall, so we are beyond excited to offer natural products to customers in a retail location.”
H&M to open at Orland Square Mall
Swedish-based fashion retailer H&M will hold a grand opening next week at Orland Square Mall in Orland Park.
The store will have its grand opening at 10 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 15.
Guests can bring in a bag of unwanted clothing before the grand opening and enter to win an H&M gift card valued up to $250.
The company was found in Sweden in 1947 and today offers fashion for everyone under the brands of H&M, COS, Monki, Weekday, Cheap Monday and & Other Stories, as well as fashion for the home at H&M Home.
The retailer has been opening stores in the south suburbs in recent years. A store opened at Chicago Ridge Mall in 2015 and another location opened in August at Ford City Mall.
Walmart celebrates new look store in Crestwood
Walmart celebrated the grand reopening of its remodeled Crestwood Supercenter with Mayor Lou Presta at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Oct. 19. The store was one of 16 stores the retailer was remodeling throughout Illinois this year.
“On behalf of the Village of Crestwood and the village board, we’d like to congratulate Walmart on the completion of recent renovations,” said Presta. “We appreciate Walmart’s investment in Crestwood and their continued partnership with our community.”
Featured online order pick up area at the front of the store—a convenient, quick way for customers to shop.
State-of-the-art electronics department with interactive displays.
Revitalized apparel department, including updated fitting rooms.
Wider aisles and lower fixtures for improved store flow, better line of sight and easier navigation.
“We are so excited to welcome Crestwood shoppers to our newly remodeled Supercenter,” said Store Manager Jennifer Bell. “Our everyday low prices save our customers money, but our newly redesigned store layout will now save our customers time as well.”
As part of the celebration, the Crestwood Supercenter presented donations to local organizations in support of their important work in the community: Crisis Center for South Suburbia ($1,000), Crestwood Police Department ($1,000), Crestwood Mayor’s Office ($500) and the Crestwood Fire Department ($500).
In April, Walmart announced it expected to spend an estimated $56 million in Illinois over the year through the remodeling of 16 stores, as well as the rollout of several in-store and online innovations designed to help busy customers save time and money.
Evergreen Park Carson’s to reopen on Black Friday
A restructured Carson’s will open its doors once again for shoppers on Black Friday, Nov. 23, at the new Evergreen Plaza in Evergreen Park.
“I’m just very excited that Carson’s will be open again,” Evergreen Park Mayor James Sexton said.
Sexton said the deal came together in September while he was trying to find new tenants to replace the Carson’s, which closed in August.
He said he received a phone call from a representative of DirectBuy in Merrillville, Ind., which is owned by CSC Generation, stating that they were interested in reopening the Carson’s.
CSC Generation, which describes itself as a saving club for members that provides discounted prices on items ranging from home and lifestyle products, had purchased the intellectual property rights to Carson’s.
“They came in and discussed it,” Sexton said. “After talking to them, they wanted to open before the holidays. They were very excited and said they wanted to open for Thanksgiving.”
The plan is to have the store open half the week as a brick-and-mortar store and the other half of the week as an online operation.
“At first they want to operate out of the first floor to start,” Sexton said. “They are also planning to sell their DirectBuy brands. I think the idea is to sell the most popular Carson’s items while combining it with DirectBuy products. Eventually they should use the second floor.”
The new Carson’s is scheduled to be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Officials from the new company said it will be utilized for online sales Monday through Wednesday.
If you see a new business in town or wonder what happened to an old favorite, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can track business openings and closings at http://bobbongonbusiness.com/