SYCAMORE – A former downtown craft store will no longer be empty after a northern Illinois-based boutique moves in before the holidays.
UOI Boutique, based in Sterling, will open its second location next month at 307 W. State St. That storefront used to house Crafted, the handmade goods and do-it-yourself store.
Urban Outlet Inc. owner John Brady said company President Meg Wheeler happened to be shopping and dining in Sycamore when she found the space. He said company staff had been looking at different locations for a potential second store for a while, and everything seemed to fall into place once Wheeler found the location.
Brady said keeping the downtown feel was important for the second location, because it helps with community involvement to be located in the heart of the city.
“I honestly have a love for old, historic buildings as well,” Brady said.
The 3,200-square-foot store is scheduled to open in October, according to a news release. Brady said there is no set date for either a soft or grand opening at this time.
Brady said Urban Outlet Inc. was originally a men’s apparel store when he first opened the business in 2000 in downtown Sterling. He said the Sterling store moved to the city’s mall after that and made the switch to women’s apparel when the business moved back to the downtown area circa 2013.
Sycamore resident Kathi Zuk, 59, said she was aware of the West State Street storefront being empty for a few months before UOI Boutique announced it’ll be moving in. She said she never heard of the store until she saw a friend share the Sept. 12 announcement on Facebook, but that she’s looking forward to checking out UOI.
“I just hate seeing empty spaces in my town,” Zuk said. “It’s kind of sad.”
Brady said the company also has a philanthropic element and has made contributions to local and national organizations and efforts, including the Sauk Valley YWCA and the American Heart Association. He said there aren’t any partnerships with Sycamore-area nonprofits set up yet, but he’s hoping for multiple ones once the store opens up.
“We’re just all about community and about building community,” Brady said.
The company is also hiring full- and part-time sales associates and a store manager for the Sycamore location. For information and to apply, call 815-632-3171 or send resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org.