Oh, the times they are a-changin'
Over the past five years, dozens of stores have come and gone in Chicago. Four former shop owners tell us about life after the boutique.
Brad Habansky, 38, owner of Guise, Guise Chic from 2004–2009
Then In his mid-thirties at the time, Habansky left his work in sales and marketing for technology companies to open the Lincoln Park men’s clothing store and salon. He was doing something right: Within a few years, the store’s revenue grew from $400,000 per year to $2 million, and in the beginning of 2008, the store relocated to a larger space a little farther south on Halsted in order to add womenswear to the mix. (The store name changed to Guise Chic.) “The most exciting part was growing the business and the brand and the awareness of it,” he says. “As the store got more credibility, we were able to look at [and carry] designers we couldn’t see before such as Y’s by Yohji Yamamoto and Yigal Azrouël.”
Now About 15 months before closing, Habansky recognized that the economy was suffering, so he went into business producing sustainable apparel and workplace uniforms with his brother-in-law at the end of 2008. By now their list of clients includes Chipotle, Noodles & Company and DirecTV, and they have plans to launch an affordable, ecofriendly men’s and women’s clothing line in 2011. “I know what the trends and styles are,” he says. “We’ll take what you like and make a cheaper, sustainable version of it.”