LAKEVIEW — Look up when you enter Clothes Optional Vintage on Clark Street.
The array of artists on the wall hints at the relationships Lori Lindbeig has built and the eclectic taste she's invested into the store. Now, as Lindbeig plans to close the shop in the next couple months, it's the mention of those relationships that makes her shed a tear.
"I've met an incredible amount of people," she said before wiping her eyes. "It's a little overwhelming to tell the public" of the closing.
Clothes Optional Vintage has been at 2918 Clark St. for 10 years, but Lindbeig, who had always worked in retail, bought it nearly three years ago when she was looking to start off on her own. She was going to pursue denim, but it was love at first sight when she went to Clothes Optional.
She'd always been in love with vintage housewares and furniture, and Clothes Optional fit right in with her sensibility. The previous owner, Jamie Isler, loved polyester and kooky items, according to Carlos Lourenco, owner of Pilsen's Knee Deep Vintage and a former employee at Clothes Optional.
Lindbeig also loves selecting vintage polyester clothes and "grandmother dresses," which she cuts and belts for the store.
"When I saw it, I needed to have it," she said.
The Palatine resident made the store her second home, even spending the night sometimes after a party in its basement. Lindbeig hosted bands and art shows, including a rotating gallery of Chicago Instagrammers.
But slow economy and dwindling foot traffic is pushing her to close in late March or early April. She's known for a couple months now and announced it on Facebook and via email last week.
Because of all her inventory, Lindbeig is considering selling items online, though that's up in the air. All clothes are currently 50 percent off, and during a final art show with live music planned for March 15, everything in the store will be 50 percent off, she said.
After closing, Lindbeig will seek other jobs in retail and spend more time with her three grandchildren.
"I have loved every minute of it," she said. "I wouldn't have had it any other way."