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Andersonville Turns 50! Event Showcases Its Success

Andersonville_Sign2In just under two months, Norcross and Scott, a retail shop and interior design studio located in what used to be a law and accounting office, has turned the word serene into more than just a feeling. It now encapsulates a physical space, located at 1476 W. Berwyn Ave., that’s open for business.

“The owners (Amanda Norcross and Scott Paterek) wanted to create something unique for Chicago,” an employee of the new store said among various items like intricately designed Roundie beach blankets by The Beach People, Kubus By Lassen brass bowls, and high-end candles created by Le Feu de L’eau.

He welcomed visitors and media as part of a Thursday, May 7, event organized by the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce aimed at highlighting what Andersonville has to offer. The event also sought to celebrate the neighborhood’s history.

Fifty years ago, this small neighborhood with Swedish roots bounded by Bryn Mawr and Winnemac to the north and south and Broadway and Ravenswood to the east and west, respectively, was officially named Andersonville.

Since then, it’s grown into the seventh hottest real estate market in the country, according to Redfin, a real estate website. Yet despite increasing real estate prices, this neighborhood hasn’t lost its appreciation for the past. A nine-block stretch of N. Clark Street in Andersonville earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, according to The Wall Street Journal, and longtime residents note the neighborhood’s strong sense of community.

Various small businesses in Andersonville continue to make the most of the neighborhood’s historic charm. GreenSky sells fair-trade, locally made and artisanal products in a restored “Queen Anne”-style building at 5357 N. Ashland, just off of Clark Street. Stop in here for upcycled purses, candles that can later be used as wine glasses, and canvas reproductions of Andersonville scenes, among other things. The store is owned by shopkeeper Nadeen Kieren and her husband, Thom Greene.

Not far away, near the corner of Clark Street and Rascher Avenue, sits Room Service, a home furnishings boutique specializing in vintage mid-century and industrial furnishings, decorative objects and art elements.

“We’ve always been vintage home furnishings, but we are slowly evolving into being a place with everything for the home and for the person in it,” said Jim Jostes, a co-founder of Room Service. That means that along with larger furniture pieces like Kroehler nightstands, the boutique also sells messenger bags, lotions and greeting cards.

He said the items in his shop are sourced from estate sales. “We are heavily influenced by Palm Springs”, he chuckled.

At Milk Handmade, 5137 N. Clark, owner Hallie Borden sells clothing and jewelry, almost all of which are created by local designers like Suki + Solaine, Anna Hovet and Squasht. Borden says she tries to stay away from trends and prefers to feature clothing that has been created by the same person from start to finish. “You get a much higher quality garment that is something that really fits and has been cared for,” she said as her brindle greyhound, Sauvie, strolled to the front door behind her. Being able to bring your dog to work is one of the perks of owning your own business. Borden quit a corporate marketing job to start Milk Handmade three years ago.

“I think the event was very successful,” said Jessica Hammer, director of marketing for the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce. “We had over 30 writers/bloggers/media in attendance and all of them enjoyed their visit very much. What really struck me was that it seems like everyone was able to discover new things about the neighborhood, even if they were already familiar with it. And those that weren’t as familiar with the neighborhood were completely wowed by our fantastic local businesses. They couldn’t stop telling me how much fun it was to be able to chat with the store owners, explore the unique businesses and soak up the friendly atmosphere.”

“Of course, the weather was perfect, so Clark Street was so vibrant with people everywhere,” she added. “We couldn’t have picked a better evening to give tours of the neighborhood.”


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