The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Potbelly Leaving Beverly For Evergreen Plaza

By Howard Ludwig | October 28, 2016 6:30am
 The Potbelly Sandwich Shop at 9501 S. Western Ave. in Beverly plans to move across the street to the newly redeveloped Evergreen Plaza, according to Ald. Matt O'Shea (19th).
The Potbelly Sandwich Shop at 9501 S. Western Ave. in Beverly plans to move across the street to the newly redeveloped Evergreen Plaza, according to Ald. Matt O'Shea (19th).
View Full Caption
DNAinfo/Howard A. Ludwig

BEVERLY — The Potbelly Sandwich Shop in Beverly plans to move across the street to Evergreen Plaza, according to Ald. Matt O'Shea (19th).

Shunora McCall, manager of the store at 9501 S. Western Ave., confirmed the move Thursday. McCall said the new store will open late next year with a drive-through window.

It is the latest business to leave the strip mall on the southeast corner of 95th Street and Western Avenue.

"Everybody is moving out of here," McCall said.

Potbelly is the anchor tenant of the shopping area that once boasted Starbucks, Jamba Juice and Panda Express. Those stores and others have since left, which O'Shea attributed, in part, to poor design.

"It's kind of hard to get into," O'Shea said of the shopping center that was intentionally built to bring the storefronts up against the sidewalk and have parking tucked behind.

Ald. Matt O'Shea (right) speaks before a group of business and community leaders gathered Thursday for the "Breakfast With Your Legislators" event at Saint Xavier University in Mount Greenwood. [DNAinfo/Howard A. Ludwig]

O'Shea made his comments Thursday morning at the 11th annual "Breakfast With Your Legislators" event at St. Xavier University in Mount Greenwood. The mention of the Potbelly in Beverly followed statements by Cook County Commissioner John Daley.

Daley touted the county's decision Wednesday to impose a mandatory minimum wage. The law gradually increases the minimum wage to $13 per hour by 2020 and mirrors a similar increase approved in Chicago in 2014.

"I doubt very many people on the county board could live on $8.25 an hour," said Daley in reference to Illinois' current minimum wage.

O'Shea unsuccessfully lobbied against a higher minimum wage in the city, saying such policies put Beverly, Mount Greenwood, Morgan Park and other outlying neighborhoods at a competitive disadvantage with adjacent suburbs.

"We are a border community," he said, adding that he hopes the county's proposal will help level the playing field.

It is worth noting that home-rule communities can vote to opt out of the county's minimum wage increase. Evergreen Park, Oak Lawn and Calumet Park — which sit just outside the 19th Ward — are all home-rule municipalities.

O'Shea said he expects continued attempts to lure businesses on the "Chicago side" or east of Western Avenue to Evergreen Plaza. And low introductory rents as well as an opportunity to move into a new building can make for a convincing case for leaving the city, he said.

Still, he believes the massive overhaul of the old shopping mall will ultimately be a boon to Beverly. Already, Evergreen Plaza has said Dick's Sporting Goods, Whole Foods 365, DSW, Dressbarn, Petco and Ulta will have stores in the new shopping center.

O'Shea believes his ward is well positioned to take advantage of the added shopping traffic that will be generated by Evergreen Plaza. That said, he actually thinks there are likely too many storefronts nearby.

He believes some of these aging stores will need to be torn down to make way for new buildings as well as parking to accommodate shoppers. In fact, he said part or all of the relatively new shopping center that will soon be without Potbelly might need to come down.

"Now more than ever, we need to stay competitive across the street," O'Shea said.

For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here.