Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl urged the TJX Companies this afternoon to re-open the A.J. Wright store in the Evanston Plaza shopping center as a HomeGoods store.
The mayor, joined by several aldermen, owners of businesses in the shopping center and nearby residents, argued that the half-million people living within five miles of the center represent a key market for the housewares chain with an average household income of $80,000.
TJX announced last week that it will close all its A.J. Wright stores nationwide. It plans to re-brand 91 of them as T.J. Maxx, Marshalls or HomeGoods outlets, but has no plans for the other 71 stores, including the one in Evanston. The company already has a Marshalls in Evanston and a T.J. Maxx nearby in Skokie.
Tisdahl said she’s sending a letter to TJX officials detailing the market advantages of Evanston and the site — including its location on the major east-west artery into the city.
She added that the city recognizes the plaza needs some additional attention and said the city is “committed to actively seeking out ways to improve the site for existing and future businesses.”
She said that, because the nearest HomeGoods store is what she described as a 30-minute drive away from Evanston, she’s confident a HomeGoods at the plaza would be prosperous and fill a gap in the retail mix in the area.
In addition, Alderman Lionel Jean-Baptiste, whose 2nd Ward includes the shopping center site, urged residents who’d like to see a HomeGoods in Evanston to send e-mail messages about the issue to firstname.lastname@example.org that the city could forward to TJX officials.