Reebok Ltd.

Damen, Armitage and Southport are changing. Can their quirky vibes be maintained?

Damen, Armitage and Southport are changing. Can their quirky vibes be maintained?

When Tricia Tunstall opened p45 on Damen Avenue two decades ago, the women’s boutique was surrounded by other local businesses.

These days, the Bucktown shopping avenue is coming to terms with two trends that seemed inconceivable in 1997: waves of national chains, and empty storefronts.

“Damen was put on the map as the place to find interesting local boutiques,” Tunstall said. “It was an artistic neighborhood. Through the years it’s changed. You see fewer and fewer local businesses because it’s harder to afford the rent.”

As ubiquitous names such as Nike and Reebok have poured in, and independent retailers shutter stores, the street struggles to maintain its quirky...

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