The downtown Evanston Radio Shack store, which has anchored the southeast corner of Sherman Avenue and Church Street for a quarter century, is closing.

Radio Shack filed for bankruptcy in March for the second time in two years, and while sale signs went up at the Evanston store, it wasn’t included among the initial wave of stores scheduled to close. But now a sign in the window says it has only 22 more days left in operation.

The store-front retail climate has been getting tougher — not just in Evanston — but nationwide, with booming e-commerce sales cutting into retailer’s traffic, reducing sales tax revenue to local governments and turning once booming shopping centers into zombie malls.

Even Warren Buffett says he’s lost faith in traditional retail operations.

To replace the shuttered shops, Evanston landlords have continued to look to that traditional standby — restaurants — to fill empty spaces and more recently have seen a surge in experiential and personal services businesses — whether it’s a play space for kids, like Gather at 602 Davis St., or for adults, like Bottle & Bottega at 1016 Davis. And don’t forget all the health and fitness businesses, like Title Boxing Club at 1029 Davis.

And, speaking of restaurants, the signs are now up at 1700 Maple Ave. promising that Furious Spoon will soon open to replace the shuttered Red Robin Burger Works. First word about Furious Spoon’s arrival came out in March. And Insomnia Cookies opened on Sherman Avenue this week.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Evanston is turning into the
    Evanston is turning into the restaurant capital of the north shore, and not in a good way at all. There’s a shrinking amount of stores and activities to bring people to Evanston other than eat. And to be completely honest with my own personal opinion, even the best restaurants in Evanston are subpar.

    1. What ideas do you have?
      Just start a business and create jobs with livable wages for all your employees in Evanston.

      It’s easy to criticize, but a little more difficult to do something about it.

      Go for it. No one is stopping you.


  2. #####I was told a while back by an

    I was told a while back by an acquantence that stores that have a location at Old Orchard sign an agreement with Westfield that they will not have another location within a 5 mile radius of the mall (which would apply to a large portion of Evanston). Can anyone confirm that this is accurate?

    1. No five-mile exclusion zone
      Sorry for the reply to an old article, but a quick survey of current Old Orchard tenants shows that Blaze Pizza [2], Barnes & Noble [2], Epic Burger, Gap, LensCrafters, Noodles & Co. [2], Starbucks [innumerable], and The North Face all have additional locations within a five-mile radius of Old Orchard (which includes all of downtown Evanston).

      So I doubt if Westfield is enforcing a five-mile radius, if such would stand up in court.

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