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Harleys owners get $183,300 to relocate business in village

Board approves CDA funds for store move

April 7, 2009

After 60 years in business, Harleys: The Store for Men will be relocating - with assistance from the village.

Owners Tim and Janet Ryan told the Shorewood Village Board on April 6 about their plans to downsize from the 16,500-square-foot store at 4009 N. Oakland Ave.

The board voted to give the Ryans $183,300 to relocate to a new, 5,333-square-foot space within the Lakewood Building, 3575 N. Oakland Ave.

The funds will come from the village's Community Development Authority budget. Annually, CDA allocates funds for such efforts as façade improvements and, in the case of the Harleys' relocation, incentives to help businesses and developers.

CDA Chairman Pete Petrie said Harleys' presence on the village's south end of Oakland Avenue could help bolster the region with increased property values over time.

"I think this is consistent with our logic in the other investment decisions we've made," Petrie said.

Tim Ryan said increased rental costs and the need for less space as the retail environment has changed in the last six decades are some of the reasons for the move.

The Ryans have been mulling the idea to move since last fall. The exploration of retail space extended beyond Shorewood's borders.

"My heart's really in Shorewood, though; I'm very active in the community," Tim Ryan said. "But in order to make this happen, we need help from the village."

The village's contribution will go toward actual construction costs, not other efforts associated with the move, including purchasing new fixtures and marketing.

Trustee Ellen Eckman said she considered Harleys a destination business in the community.

"I certainly wouldn't want to explain to constituents why we lost Schwartz and Harleys in the same year," Eckman said, referring to the recent closure of the Harry W. Schwartz Bookshop.

With village approval, the Ryans plan to sign a letter of intent with owners of the Lakewood Building that will be good for at least five years.

A tentative time line calls for interior construction of the new space to begin May 31, with a physical move to the new facility planned for mid- to late-August.

Dave Fidlin can be reached at (262) 446-6603.

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