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The Alley's Funeral Is Saturday, But First Flip Through Photos in Memoriam

By Ariel Cheung | January 15, 2016 6:09am
 The Alley is closing Tuesday after 39 years in Lakeview. Owner Mark Thomas shared some photos and memories from the four decades at the punk and goth staple.
Say Goodbye To The Alley With a Trip Down Memory Lane
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LAKEVIEW — Mark Thomas has done a lot of reminiscing over the past month.

Who can blame him? After four decades at the corner of Clark and Belmont, he has a lot of memories to go through.

Since Thomas announced in December that the punk and goth apparel mainstay would close after 39 years, the store has been clearing out inventory.

And now, the countdown is almost over. On Saturday, Thomas is throwing a funeral for The Alley, complete with casket and hearse. By Wednesday, the store will be closed for good.

Hundreds of employees and long-time fans of The Alley have come by to visit Thomas and say goodbye to the store.

RELATED: The Alley Closing After 39 Years After Being 'Slaughtered' By Construction

Some have shed their black, studded wardrobes and "snotty" attitudes, some haven't. One ex-employee who stopped by in December has become a college professor.

"Tell me you're not old enough to have a business card," Thomas exclaimed. As she handed him a card, she mentioned her two children, ages 6 and 8. Thomas gaped.

"What do you do when your kids start having kids?" he asked, aghast.

As Thomas cleaned out his office and The Alley's inventory, dozens of photos surfaced spanning more than 20 years.

Here are just a few of them:

There's the time the Misfits came to town and signed autographs in the store in 2000.

The Misfits visited The Alley in 2000. [Provided/Mark Thomas]

"That had to have been 10, maybe 15 years ago," Thomas said. "It was a big moment in the store, and it drew a big crowd."

That day, there was a line down Clark Street, right past two other Thomas storefronts, including the Architectural Revolution.

Mark Thomas' self-made panoramic photo of Clark Street shows fans lined up for an event in front of The Alley and its sister stores. [Provided/Mark Thomas]

Check out those clunky old-school cars parking in front.

The Misfits visited The Alley in 2000 and fans lined Clark Street in anticipation. [Provided/Mark Thomas]

Remember that time The Alley threw a concert in the alley?

Back then, Taboo Tabou had its own storefront instead of its current location in The Alley's basement. Don't worry — the adult store will remain at Clark and Belmont even after The Alley is gone. The new location should be open before Valentine's Day, co-owner Alexis Thomas said.

RELATED: The Alley's Sister Store Taboo Tabou Signs Lease To Stay In Lakeview

Taboo Tabou and Blue Havana cigar shop in their former locations near Clark and Belmont. [Provided/Mark Thomas]

And you actually entered The Alley from the alley.

When The Alley first opened in the '80s, it's main door was accessed from the back alley. [Provided/Mark Thomas]

The murals in the alley are gone now, as the 3200 N. Clark St. project takes shape and The Alley moves out of Lakeview. [Provided/Mark Thomas]

Slipped in among photos of the store are snapshots of Thomas' friends, co-workers and family.

Owner Mark Thomas' daughter Alexis Thomas (r.) now runs Taboo Tabou. [Provided/Mark Thomas]

Snapshots of Thomas' family are mixed in with stacks of photos from The Alley's 40 years. Here are his two daughters, both now adults. [Provided/Mark Thomas]

"It's painful, everything that's happening," Thomas said as he flipped through the stacks of photos. "I'm ready to move on, but it was still such a good time."

Mark Thomas has spent time clearing out The Alley and his office, sorting through stacks of photos from the store's nearly 40 years in Lakeview. [DNAinfo/Ariel Cheung]

"Every day was fun."

The Alley is closing after Tuesday. Owner Mark Thomas said he plans to launch a new version of the store in another neighborhood after 39 years in Lakeview. [DNAinfo/Ariel Cheung]

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