And another one bites the dust. Add Carson’s to the list of stores closing in our area, on the heels of Toys R Us. With a history going back 164 years, Carson’s takes its place with many of the well-known longtime retailers succumbing to the new way of shopping. Times and consumers have changed, for the better I’m not sure.
Taking a step back and looking at that part of North Riverside — the tract of land bounded by 26th Street, Harlem Avenue and Cermak Road and Northgate Avenue – it’s been an amazing transformation.
Remember when it was the site of a “bad boys school,” a TB Hospital and Concordia Teacher’s College? They all occupied the land that is now home to North riverside Park Mall.
Riverside had the opportunity to purchase the property but opted not to, leaving it open to the village of North Riverside, which in the mid-1970s approved construction of the North Riverside Park Mall.
It was exciting for the area providing not only a place to shop locally but providing tax dollars to the village and Riverside’s schools. It still provided revenue and job opportunities. Edward Don, built around the same time at the corner of 26th and Harlem, had many jobs available.
Businesses have come and gone over the years. Remember E.J. Korvette’s? Madigan’s? Montgomery Ward? Sears has downsized, and within the mall itself many of the smaller businesses have come and gone.
Frank’s Nursery and Craft was handy, but it’s gone. Edward Don left and was replaced by Costco. Dominick’s came and went, and now it’s replacement, Tony’s, will go to Berwyn later this year, leaving another big empty store.
I liked Carson’s and its history, and I liked shopping there, particularly their housewares and cosmetic departments, good purses, too. So I will readjust my shopping and do more at Kohl’s and Penney’s. I hope they hang in there.
What is next for the piece of land that has been subject to so many changes of the past 50 years? We will have to wait and see and hope for the best, particularly for those who now must seek employment somewhere else.
Shopping online has some advantages, like not worrying about finding a parking spot close to the store, but there is still something fun about the in-store experience, actually seeing items and getting a close look at them.
Carson’s sent out notices telling shoppers to cut up their credit cards, but I think I’ll keep it and put it with my old Field’s card. I’m sentimental.