Downtown Vacancies Filling Back Up

Downtown Naperville is known for its shopping, dining and many other amenities. But over the last year and a half, the recession has left some vacant store fronts and empty parking spaces.

According to Christine Jeffries, the President of the Naperville Development Partnership, the current vacancies aren’t the worst thing.

“Sometimes we have sort of a natural turn where we have three or four stores that might move or close,” said Jeffries, “And generally we have someone waiting to get into that space from the time that somebody’s leaving . . . That’s the type of vacancy we can live with.”

The newest tenant making it’s way to Jefferson Avenue this week is yoga-inspired fitness store lululemon. The Naperville store is the Vancouver-based company’s eighth store in Chicagoland, and store officials feel Naperville’s downtown was a natural fit for their company.

I think for us what immediately struck it for us was the downtown area,” said Julie Sanford, lululemon’s regional manager. “It’s charming, it’s dynamic, it’s family oriented. But the biggest thing is Naperville’s already a community of athletes when you think of the yoga studios, running and triathlons.”

The store’s location at 21 W Jefferson is right across from the Naperville Running Company, making for a fitness partnership Sanford says can be very fruitful. For Christine Jeffries, both businesses will play off of each other and capitalize on the active nature of Naperville.

“Oh it’s perfect,” said Jeffries. “It follows the demographic. We have a lot of young families that are into sports and into athletics so you see something like lululemon with the yoga apparel and the running store expanding their store and we have a lot of athletic (stores), both clothing and accessories. So it follows the demographic of the community.”

And while some have been skeptical of a higher-end store like lululemon succeeding in the current economic climate, Sanford feels the fruitful relationship with Naperville Running Co. and the fitness community will keep her company’s new store going strong.

“I think truly it’s about building relationships and letting them know that we are here to help them achieve goals in their life,” said Sanford. “And at the end of the day have fun.”

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