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More changes in the retail scene in downtown Evanston. Signs in the Title Nine women’s sportswear boutique at 816-1/2 Church St. today say it’s closing.

Title Nine has just under two dozen stores nationwide. It arrived in Evanston in 2010 in the then newly renovated building at 816-818 Church St., owned by the Behles & Behles architectural firm that has its offices on the second floor.

Facade work on the building was partly funded by a grant from the city’s facade improvement program.

The other storefront in the building, was filled about the same time by the Five Guys Burgers and Fries restaurant that closed late last year.

Radio Shack has again filed for bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, at the Radio Shack at 716 Church St., the signs may look like the store’s closing, but Jim Nash of Farnsworth-Hill, the property manager for the building, says he’s been assured by the store manager that it will remain open.

Radio Shack filed for bankrupcy for the second time in two years last week, and Nash says he just received of the bankrupcy filing today.

But a list of nearly 200 stores the company plans to close immediately does not include the one in Evanston.

And Nash says he’s been told the Evanston store is one of the best performing ones in the chain. But the company says it’s evaluating options for  the 1,300 stores it will still have after the initial closures.

The Radio Shack store has anchored the southeast corner of Church Street and Sherman Avenue for 25 years and is only the third tenant in the space, Nash says. The 708 Church Street building opened in the late 1920s with the Huerbinger Drug store occupying the corner slot. It was replaced by a chain drug store about a half-century later.

Even assuming Radio Shack stays open here, Nash has one upcoming vacancy in the 708 Church building to fill. Relish, a clothing boutique at 706 Church, is calling it quits after 10 years.

“The retail landscape seems to be changing,” Nash says, “there’s just too much competition from Amazon.”


Downtown workers at the 1603 Orrington tower will have a new lunchtime food option starting Tuesday. Fooda, a new service that connects restaurants with office buildings, plans to bring its rotating lobby restaurant service to the building. First on the menu — Hecky’s Barbeque. 


Update 9:20 a.m. 3/14/17: And one additional positive note for downtown Evanston retail. Market Fresh Books, which DNAinfo reports is closing its Chicago outlet in the Little Italy neighborhood, quotes a store worker as saying the Evanston shop at 700 Church St. will remain open, “The store in Evanston does really well,” she said.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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