‘Play See Shop South Shore’ Pop-Up Revitalizes Vacant 71 Jeffrey Drive

Chicago (WLS) — A handful of pop-up stores near 71st and Jeffrey are offering South Shore residents something new, which many hope is a sign of the future.

A neighborhood that struggled while retail anchors left is getting something new: a pop-up business with storefronts vacant on the South Bank.

“It’s been vacant for a while, so it’s nice to see all of this being used,” said resident Bria Walker. “I am excited.”

The “Play See Shop South Shore” will officially have its grand opening on Saturday, January 1st. 14. The three storefronts on 71st Street west of Jeffrey now house a free play space, an art gallery and a craft market.

“It’s completely vacant, it’s desolate, it needs love,” said Damon Smith, a project manager with the South Shore Chamber of Commerce. “We were able to renovate to a certain extent and bring out the best in it.”

Artist Elizabeth Hatton designs playspace with art and STEM activities for kids at Brown Books & oil paint brushes. On Friday, she put the finishing touches on the market area.

“It’s not just a vendor area, there’s going to be a lot of plants and music, and there’s going to be a DJ booth,” Hatton said.

She’s also a former South Shore resident

“I wanted to bring something luxurious and imaginative to the community, especially because I had wonderful neighbors living here and some of the most beautiful people I’ve ever met on the South Shore,” she said.

The pop-up stores are part of the city’s grants to attract businesses to neighborhoods.

“It gives a sense of community that the South Bank has long lacked,” Smith said. “I’m really excited. I’m really excited for the community.”

These businesses will remain open until April, but hopefully the influx of energy will inspire others to come and stay.

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