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What’s New: Chicago Retail Rundown

From pop-up shops to Digital Natives opening retail stores, some new concepts have recently hit the Chicago market. Stores are still relevant, and creating engaging experiences that drive customers to visit remains a top priority. We are sharing a few stores to visit if you live in or are visiting the area.

  1. Virgil Abloh designed and inspired pop-ups. The pop-ups are part of a larger effort, where he is running a concurrent exhibit Figures of Speech at the Museum of Contemporary Art. The exhibit was reportedly an effort three years in the making and is the epicenter of the pop-up collaborations:
    • Nike Re-Creation: Nike and creative genius Virgil Abloh recently opened the Re-Creation pop-up as a destination for sustainability, workshops, give back programs, product exclusives and local influencers. The store goes well beyond traditional retail and shows the true meaning of redefining the retail experience with a focus on engagement and sustainability. Located next to Nike Chicago at 669 N Michigan Avenue. The exhibit closes on July 28th.

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    • Louis Vuitton Pop-Up: A hard one to miss if you are in the West Loop neighborhood, the neon orange painted building is a homage to its menswear artistic director Virgil Abloh and the men’s 2019 Fall/Winter collection. The pop-up also has a car service that takes shoppers to the LV Michigan Avenue store to continue the shopping experience. An interesting tie-in to the store and encouraging more purchases. A few limited-edition, orange-hued pieces are for sale inside the pop-up shop, open through July 7th at 1100 W. Randolph St.
  2. Amazon Go: Amazon has expanded its retail footprint with Amazon Go throughout the city. The frictionless and “just walk out” experience is reinventing retail. Amazon Go currently has four locations in Chicago: 500 W Madison; 113 S Franklin; 111 E Wacker; 144 S Clark.
  3. Allbirds: A Digital Native, Allbirds is expanding its store base with the newest location in Chicago selling casual wool sneakers for men and women. Allbirds is located in Lincoln Park at 843 W Armitage.
  4. Roots: Canadian apparel chain Roots recently opened its largest store to-date on Chicago’s famous Michigan Avenue. The store offers personalization stations for the brand’s salt-and-pepper sweats and leather products. Spanning 11,448 square feet, the store offers a full scope of the brand’s offerings including men’s, women’s and children’s, in addition to its artisanal leather products and premium sweats. This is Roots’ eighth U.S. store and located at 605 N Michigan Avenue.

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  5. Politan Row Food Hall: The food hall does a great job of integrating a variety of cuisines from Mediterranean to Mexican, Indian, Vegan, Asian and more – a curated assortment of nine restaurants, a bar and beer garden. Many of the vendors are behind popular Chicago restaurants like Fat Shallot and Café Tola. Politan Row is a spinoff of the New Orleans food hall, St. Roch Market serving as a hub for entrepreneurs to build a name for themselves and eventually opening their own full-service restaurants. Politan Row is in the West Loop neighborhood at 111 N Aberdeen.

We are always scouting the latest and greatest retail concepts in every market. Contact us to learn more about our study tour services!

Interested in innovations? Download a copy of our Retail Innovations book here.

Alex Timion

Alex leads McMillanDoolittle’s global communications work and is the primary point of contact for Ebeltoft Group, McMillanDoolittle’s international partnership with over two dozen retail consulting member firms around the world. In this capacity, Alex coordinates collaborative project work, assists with original global studies, runs point on Ebeltoft Group’s annual publication Retail Innovations, and provides comprehensive event planning assistance for bi-annual international conferences. As a Senior Associate, Alex provides planning and presentation support for the company’s retail focused study tours and speaking engagements, including NRF’s Big Show.

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