Edgeville Buzz

The View From Andersonville’s Second Floor Businesses


Photo Courtesy RE: Chiropractic + Wellness

You could call them heads above the rest and just leave it at that.

After all, businesses like Salon 10 and RE: Chiropractic + Wellness actually are above you, in a physical sort of way. Both are located on Andersonville’s historic Clark Street, and while the services they offer are very different, the benefits stemming from their second-floor locations are similar.

“After looking at space after space in Edgewater, Andersonville and Ravenswood, I really loved this office because it’s an old vintage apartment with skylights and it felt so unique,” said Dr. Sarah Ghorbanian, a chiropractor who owns her own business at 5347 N. Clark St., No. 2. “Also, it’s really fun to look out the windows and see my friends walking down Clark Street.”

Ghorbanian has been a chiropractor since April 2005. Before officially opening her Clark Street business in October 2014, she had worked for a large group of chiropractic offices in the suburbs. But creating a workspace on Clark Street wasn’t the only goal for this self-described local who grew up in Andersonville.

“I could have just rented a single room with four walls and people would’ve come to see me and that would’ve been just fine,” she said. “But I wanted to do something bigger for my community. I also wanted to be an incubator for other small businesses to start and grow.”


Photo Courtesy Salon 10

Since RE: Chiropractic + Wellness is a converted three-bedroom apartment, Ghorbanian chooses to rent one room out to other health practitioners. Those sub-renters have included massage therapists, acupuncturists, Reiki healers, and a health coach. They make their own appointments and take care of their own payments and financial matters.

“Not everyone wants to go to the trouble of a formal commercial lease and space, so a sub-tenant agreement for one to two days per week works much better,” she said.

For Jennifer Baxter, who owns Salon 10, a boutique salon in the heart of Andersonville, the second-floor location just makes sense.

“It was a no-brainer because my mother (Jan Baxter) was going to put her boutique The Landmark on the first floor,” she said of her decision to start her business at 5245 N. Clark St. 15 years ago. “It was a gift shop/women’s boutique. She recently retired after 33 years in business on Clark Street. So she was kind of instrumental in helping generate other businesses to open on Clark Street 33 years ago.”

Plus, “I’ve always worked on the second floor in a hair salon,” Baxter said. “I just like that we are above the street. I feel like we have a great view, and customers don’t get cold when the door opens.”

Salon 10 makes the most of its 750-square-foot space, offering hair services, facials, painless waxing and massage. Baxter employs two hairdressers, one barber, one aesthetician, and two massage therapists.

Not being on the first floor can mean there are potential drawbacks, however. “People can’t see what you are doing, and so many people are visual,” Baxter said. “So we do a strong window presence. I do window displays and I have lights on my window and lettering that says Salon 10, so people can see that. We don’t want to be hidden.”

But it doesn’t seem that Salon 10 has much to worry about. “We’ve been in business for a long time, and we don’t have chair hoppers,” she said. “They keep coming back, and we do several generations of a family. I’ve had kids since they were 4 years old and now they are in college, and when they have their kids, they will come back. So we must be doing something right.”

Baxter said statistics show that haircut clients stay for one year and color clients typically stay for three years. “So we are beating the odds, and I think we do that through service,” she said. “We stick to the basics. It’s about the client.”

She’s also happy to be in Andersonville, where she likes the shared sense of community. Baxter said many small business owners still work in their place of business in this tight-knit neighborhood. There aren’t many chain stores.

“When you have an owner on site, you have a level of caring that you do not have when it is strictly employees because you cannot pay people to care,” she said. “And everybody kind of looks out for each other. If there is something going wrong, everybody spreads the word.”

Other historic buildings on Clark Street have been converted to first- and second-floor businesses, as well. The Calo Theater Building, which stretches from 5402 to 5418 N. Clark St., was originally a theater serving the Swedish-American community in early Andersonville, according to Andersonville.org. The theater opened in 1915 and originally seated roughly 800 people.

Now, it’s the spot for small business owners like Marilyn Fumagalli, a Bellanina facelift massage specialist whose office is located at 5412 N. Clark St., Suite 215. Her website describes her second-floor space as being located in a “quiet, safe, clean, well-kept-up vintage building with a secure entryway.”

Jessica Hammer, director of marketing for the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce, said many second-floor businesses on Clark Street are professionals like mental health providers, lawyers, graphic designers, accountants, and real estate agents.

“I think that in addition to all the services that those businesses provide, the second-floor businesses on Clark Street play a big role in the daily vitality of Andersonville,” she added. “Those are the people who have lunch in Andersonville. For example, our office is on the second floor. We do our shopping at the stores during the day, have coffee, etc. The second floor businesses are very important to supporting all the other different businesses in the neighborhood.”

We invite you to comment as Edgeville Buzz's GUEST. We review all submissions before they go live on our site. We encourage civil dialogue. Posts must adhere to our comment policy and we reserve the right to delete posts/ban users for instances of inappropriate language, bullying speech, character defamation, spam, etc.