BUCKTOWN — Psychobaby is heading south.
After 10 years at 1630 N. Damen Ave. in Bucktown, an independently-owned children's apparel and toy shop is beefing up its virtual presence and moving to smaller physical quarters on Division Street.
"To stay connected, we're opening a location a few blocks south at 1657 W. Division St. A Psychobaby 'to go,' if you will ..." wrote co-owners Lisa Starbuck and Marlo Hoffman in a letter to their customers.
The letter further details Psychobaby's next chapter:
"We wanted to let you know that Psychobaby is evolving. In order to more easily bring our offering to a wider audience, we have made the decision to focus more of our attention on our rapidly expanding website, psychobabyonline."
"Psychobaby To Go," at 1657 W. Division St., will offer a wider selection of personalizable/customizable items, same day pick up or local delivery, as well as bringing what the company calls its "unique Psychobaby experience" to birthday parties, corporate events and other gatherings.
Psychobaby is having a moving sale at its Damen Avenue storefront through June 23 and is expected to open in its new location July 1, an employee said.
The new home for Psychobaby is a garden level storefront beneath Carolyn's Astrology Boutique.
The news comes months after Chicago Real Estate Daily reported that a New York City investor, Joel Dushey of Jenel Management Corp., had been snapping up properties with ground floor retail space in Bucktown, particularly in the 1600 block of North Damen Avenue.
Dushey — who also owns the building at 1530-32 N. Milwaukee Ave. which houses Reckless Records and Rodan Lounge — has said that he sees Wicker Park as "a young SoHo," referencing the Lower Manhattan neighborhood in New York City known for artistic and eclectic boutiques.
In addition to owning the building at 1630 N. Damen Ave. that houses Psychobaby, Jenel Management has acquired 1659 N. Damen Ave., where another longtime, independently-owned retailer, Riley Boutique, was forced to close in May, citing increasing rent, according to a Patch.com report.
Psychobaby and Riley might not be the only independent retailers leaving Damen Avenue, where many national brands have entered the neighborhood and driven rents up.
After a chamber gathering in May, Pamela Hewett, who owns Stitch, a designer furniture and accessories store at 1723 N. Damen Ave., said, "Now all of our [retail] neighbors are corporate, and landlords are wanting $80 per square foot."
"We love our store, and the street, but as far as myself, we are considering other locations after 15 years on Damen," Hewett said.