BUCKTOWN — The owner of a boutique that's been a staple on Damen Avenue, near where the street intersects with Milwaukee and North avenues, is moving her shop two blocks away after saying she would rather own than pay higher rent being charged in the now-trendy stretch.
Stitch, which has been in the area for 16 years, plans to close its designer furnishings and accessories store at 1723 N. Damen Ave. on Monday and reopen in March at 1937 N. Damen Ave.
"Finding a space right up the street on Damen was a dream come true for us. It was essential that we stay in the neighborhood," said Pamela Hewett, owner of Stitch.
Through the weekend there will be "major deals and markdowns on everything" including fixtures, Hewett said.
Peek Kids, a San Francisco-based children's clothing chain, will open in the space Stitch is leaving.
Stitch's new digs are across from Le Bouchon, a French restaurant and near other "North Damen" retailers like Pavilion, Robin Richman and Virtu.
Hewett purchased the new storefront with the help of David Grzenia, a customer who helped her open Stitch 16 years ago and is the president of Bridgeview Bank.
Grzenia "got behind us again and was able to make this happen," Hewett said.
Another Stitch customer, architect Brent Norsman, will be designing and building out the new shop, Hewett said, adding that "It was important to us to work with our customers and friends to make this change happen for us. We only want to add to the movement and growth of Wicker Park and Bucktown."
Most recently home to Dress Up boutique, which closed last February, the storefront at 1937 N. Damen Ave. was a source of controversy when a nail salon tried to open there despite the fact there were six other nail salons nearby.
Rising rents have forced retailers on Damen as well as Milwaukee avenues to either head south or north of Wicker Park's six-corner intersection.
Reckless Records CEO Charles Taylor announced last week that he bought a two-story vintage building two blocks south of the existing record store.
Hewett agreed that the retail landscape is changing.
"It seems that a lot of the independently owned stores are having to move further from the intersection of Damen, North, Milwaukee to survive. The energy and vibrancy is spreading," Hewett said.
Beginning Tuesday, Stitch will open a "pop-up shop" in Tangerine, 1719 N. Damen Ave., and remain there until the new store opens in March.
"Lori Mandarino [Tangerine's owner] generously welcomed this idea, as she thought the idea would be fun for our customers and good for our stores. We both want to make sure that retail and shopping remains strong on Damen. Independent women business owners support each other in this neighborhood," Hewett said.
Last week, Sandy Horwitz, the owner of Clothes Minded at 1735 N. Damen Ave., announced her retirement after 42 years. Horwitz said at one time there were 11 woman business owners on the block; only three are left.
Still, Hewitt said the relocation process mostly has been positive.
"We've felt so much support and love from our customers through this whole process, and everyone's really excited and rooting for us," she said.
Stitch, 1723 N. Damen Ave., is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Saturday; Noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. 773-782-1570. For more details on the relocation, closing sale and pop-up shop at Tangerine, consult Stitch's Facebook page.