Once upon a time, Wicker Park was a neighborhood where artists could do their thing in cheapo apartments, and you were more likely to get mugged than suffer the indignity of walking past the air-conditioned doorway of a national retailer. Or so the story goes. These days, there are still a bunch of independent shops along Milwaukee and Division, but the national chains (and bank branches) have invaded the erstwhile boho 'hood, the latest and most prominent example of which is the big new CVS in the Home Bank & Trust building at Division and Ashland. Today, RedEye checks in with a handful of Wicker Park residents to get their first impressions on the new store. Reactions are somewhat mixed, as is to be expected, and many of the respondents share opinions about what would have been a better use of the space (indoor farmers market, community center, ginormous bookstore, art-supply store).
"...What I would really love to see in that space instead? Instead of a place to buy more things, wouldn't it be lovely if it was instead a place for community activities and gatherings." — Lara Mercurio, resident"I don't know if I like necessarily the building they used because it is such a beautiful building. I feel like something a little better could have went in there besides a CVS, but I'm OK with it. I really do think Wicker Park needs more clothing retailers, maybe just art-supply stores, because we are so artsy. We don't have anything like that here in the neighborhood. I would have loved to see a ginormous bookstore go in there." — Anastasia Chatzka, owner and designer at Anastasia ChatzkaI think it's kinda blasphemy to kill the space because it's so ornate. ? You know it'd be a good space for [the Wicker Park & Bucktown Farmers Market], almost like a marketplace, like an indoor marketplace where it might rotate through three or four days a week, but it'd be all for local produce. That I think would have been a much better use for it, considering it's beautiful space, it's ornate." — Sean Moran, marketing and operations director at Anastasia Chatzka · New CVS: Love it or hate it? [RedEye]