What’s the Best Way to Fill Retail Space?

The latest Patch poll wants to know what readers would do to build retail and restaurant locations in Deerfield.

A few days after after years of serving meals to North Shore residents, Mayor Harriet Rosenthal asked Village Manager Kent Street to find ways to keep sales tax revenue flowing when businesses change in Deerfield.

Mayor Rosenthal made her comments at the April 2 Village Board meeting and a Patch article published Thursday drew 21 comments from readers with some of their ideas to fill retail and restaurant space and develop other fiscal measures.

Patch now wants to know what its readers think and its latest unscientific poll to measure ideas around town asks people to express an opinion on what, if anything, the Village should do to increase sales tax revenue.

One reader, Barry, wants to ask companies like Lettuce Entertain You and the Levy Organization why they have no outlets in Deerfield. He thinks everyone can learn from their knowledge and expertise.

“Asking them why and listening to what they say may offer some insight as to what needs to be corrected and changed,” writes Barry. “There must be other reasons why major players are avoiding obvious opportunities here in Deerfield. Let’s find out what they are and fix them.”

Henry Steindler thinks doing something about traffic in the vicinity of Lake Cook and Waukegan Roads at the noon hour is another way to generate sales tax revenue.

“The Lake Cook corridor lunch hour congestion (even without the construction) has to take away an incredible amount of lunch business from anyone trying to make it in that area,” Steindler writes. “Not sure what can be done about.”

Another reader, , thinks someone should try drawing a prominent restaurateur from Chicago to Deerfield. “The city is flooded with the hottest chefs in the country,” he writes. “Half of them want to use locally grown products. Where is it easier to receive locally grown goods? In the city or three minutes off of 294 or 94?” Voting will remain open through Friday and the results will be published Monday.

David Greenberg April 12, 2012 at 02:02 AM
Restaurants depend on repeat business. To get repeat business they have to offer an Easy-to-get-to-Location, Good Parking, Excellent Fare, Excellent Service, and Competitive Pricing. If any of those suffer, there's always another restaurant to turn to that offers what someone's looking for. Theme restaurants (Bennigans, Ed Devivik, Shaws Crab House) have a short lifespan, and if you want another theme restaurant in there, you've gotta have the criteria I detailed above to make it work. If it's not making it's numbers, you close it. Local businesses need to support their customers if they want the customers to return the favor - it's a two-way street and unfortunately, some restaurants don't 'get it', and they do so at their peril. I can get food anywhere - but I go to a restaurant because I'm hungry and don't want the hassle of cooking myself right now. If I go to a restaurant, and I get a hassle (delays, lousy service, bad food) then I may walk out, and I'll never come back because I place a high value on my time, I'll also tell everyone I know who places a similar value on their time to avoid the place. Conversely - places that are quick, have great service, and great food get my repeat business and recommendations...
Bringin' Down Briarwood April 12, 2012 at 09:57 PM
You make a good point, RB. This is probably a far more complex issue than I and others give it credit for. Everybody (including me) just wants to fill the space with the right restaurant. It probably requires much more than that including a DEEEEEEEP look at the "market"/us. I hope someone in the village wants to stop and say, "It's time to look at this differently." It probably requires a new look at how the village governs business, how developers interact with the village and how area residents wants to do local business. Maybe infrastructure such as traffic patterns? Personally, I'd like to see a community less focused on the car as they key mode of transportation. Yes, people will drive, but this isn't the 1950s. People will drive then they want to spend some time in an area ... walking ... biking. Please Deerfield. Start considering other options because what you're doing isn't working for business.
Bringin' Down Briarwood April 12, 2012 at 11:28 PM
Just heard a story on public radio about what St. Charles is doing to attempt to revive the Charlestowne Mall. I thought a lot of this is VERY relevant to this discussion INCLUDING the ten weeks it will take for a full market study. The $24K study will "analyze current spending patterns and retail sales performance, compare Charlestowne with other similar malls, and recommend changes and solutions." Here's a link to the full story. http://triblocal.com/st-charles/2012/04/10/st-charles-taking-steps-to-save-ailing-charlestowne-mall/ WDCB also interviewed St. Charles' economic development director this evening (if a podcast becomes available).
Thinking for the future April 13, 2012 at 12:56 AM
My family moved to Deerfield two years ago. We love it here. However, whenever we have family or friends in to visit, the first thing we say is "we can head over to Highland Park or Long Grove and to eat and walk around". As great as our town is, its not a destination. What are we going to do? Walk around DF Square? If we go to Kevin's Place for brunch, we;re walking out to our car. IF we go to Walker Brothers, there is all of downtown HP to explore. We need downtown COMPLETELY redeveloped. Imagine if there was a mirror image of the buildings of DF Square built (in what is now the giant parking lot). Imagine if a pedestrian street ran through it. Think of the Glen, but without cars. Now how nice would it be for people to come and stroll through our own little village. Restaurants with outdoor seating, live music, art galleries, local businesses, gelato, maybe a small theater. Think of it lit up at night with people strolling around. Think of people leaving a meal and staying around for a while, spending money in our village. Why must our downtown be basically a giant strip mall? We need for people to say 'I'm heading to Deerfield for the evening". Its an enormous undertaking, and massive change in thinking. But THATS the type of bold move we need.
Concerned Deerfield Resident April 30, 2012 at 05:46 PM
There are a few challenges with the decisions Deerfield has made regarding retail business. The points above regarding the use of space and designs which invite customers to visit and stay are on point. Drive a little north to Lake Forest and look how they have created warm and inviting spaces with their malls. Look at some of the thriving spaces created in surrounding suburbs, where they get tremendous traffic flow. Deerfield's spaces look more like a quick drive through based on 1970's designs, which pervade many of the less affluent suburbs. The other decisions involve the outright sale of properties to land owners and developers who can command high rents where Deerfield has little if any leverage to influence the business climate (unless we give up on tax revenue). Many businesses will not come back due to the unfriendly business climate, so we're left with chains and thrift stores. As Deerfield continues to widen the roads, pay little attention to the landscaping and spacial designs which would attract customers and visitors, i'm sad to say that it is becoming another "pass-through" community (where folks drive through so they can go reach their destination of choice).


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