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Wicker Park Starbucks Could Expand into City Soles' Spot, Landlord Says

By Emily Morris | April 23, 2014 6:36am
 Starbucks is in talks to expand into the neighboring City Soles storefront, according to the building owner.
Starbucks is in talks to expand into the neighboring City Soles storefront, according to the building owner.
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DNAinfo/Emily Morris

WICKER PARK — The Starbucks near the Milwaukee-Damen-North intersection could expand into the neighboring City Soles storefront after the shoe shop's 20-year lease ends, according to City Soles' founder and the owner of the building. 

Starbucks representatives have been in talks with Black Building Trust owner Marshall Black for months about the possible expansion, Black said, though no leases or agreements have been signed.

City Soles at 2001 W. North Ave. has a lease that's up at the end of next February, said owner Scott Starbuck, and he's mulling a move to another location. It's possible the store could move before the lease is up, he said.

Starbuck said Wednesday that he's currently in negotiations for a "spot that's awesome" and very close by, though he did not disclose the location.

The shop has been in Wicker Park for nearly two decades, and Starbuck said he wants it to stay that way.

"I think it is the coolest neighborhood in Chicago," said Starbuck, who added that the move would be "not more than 100 yards away."

Like many boutiques, City Soles has been focusing for at least the past three years on selling its shoes, jewelry and other merchandise via its website. City Soles also had a Lakeview location, which it shut in 2010.

Black said the two storefronts are about 4,500 square feet combined, with City Soles occupying the majority of the space.

"I would not be able to afford what Starbucks would pay" for the lease, Starbuck said.

City Soles plans on having a fresh website and logo redesign in the coming weeks, Starbuck said, and he envisions the potential new store with built-in screens that give customers more information about each brand.

The shop owner said he's also working on adding about 200 indie brands to the website.

"I want to continue that brick-and-mortar experience while we do the dot com," Starbuck said.

The Starbucks at 1588 N. Milwaukee Ave. is on the smaller side, with just a few chairs for customers. During a recent afternoon lunch rush, few were seen lingering in the store after getting a cup of coffee.

"It's pretty cramped in there sometimes," said Jess Troy, 26, who works in the neighborhood and frequents the shop. Troy said she'd be happy to see the Starbucks have some more room.

Wicker Park resident Julie Ristick, 56, said she and her friends often meet up at the Starbucks and said additional space could make the location more comfortable.

"You could relax," she said.

But Logan Square resident Tara Stokes, who also grabbed some coffee from the chain before quickly heading out on her way, said she doesn't really see a need for an expansion.

"I think it might be unnecessary because there are so many coffee shops in the neighborhood," Stokes said.

A spokesperson for Starbucks did not immediately respond to calls for comment.

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