Toys R Us begins liquidation sales

The Toys R Us store in Burbank is among those holding liquidation sales as the company prepares to close or sell all of its holdings in the United States and Canada. (Photo by Bob Bong)

New Jersey-based toy retailer Toys R Us announced last week that it would begin liquidation sales as it prepares to close or sell all of its stores in the United States and Canada after bankruptcy reorganization efforts collapsed.

Shoppers looking for great bargains beware, liquidation sales start slowly. Discounts now are only from 10-20 percent. Customers report rewards points are not being accepted.

The company said gift cards would be honored only until April 15.

Locally, the retailer operates toy and baby stores in Burbank, Orland Park and Joliet. A toy store in Matteson has been holding its liquidation sale for several weeks.

Toys R Us will close all of the stores by June, but they may close earlier if they sell off all remaining inventory.

Workers will not receive any severance pay, the company said in a letter sent to employees.

Toys R Us has been operating under bankruptcy protection since September.

Chuy’s Tex-Mex to open next week in Orland Park

Texas-based Chuy’s, a restaurant that features Tex-Mex fare, is scheduled to open its first south suburban location next week in Orland Park.

Chuy’s is expected to open at 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 27,  at 15610 S. LaGrange Road, in the development at the former Army 

Nike missile base site. Other locations are in Schaumburg and Warrenville.

The first 50 people in line when doors open at 11 a.m. will be awarded a year’s worth of “Free Chuy’s for Two” gift certificates, redeemable at the Orland Park location. The complimentary dinner includes 12 “dinner for two” certificates, redeemable each month from March 27, 2018, through March 27, 2019. The free dinner features an appetizer plate, two entrees and a dessert.

“Our third Chicagoland restaurant opening is cause for great celebration, so we decided to do something fun to thank the community for welcoming us with open arms,” Jose Salazar, local owner/operator of Chuy’s Orland Park, said in a release. “We hope to be a favorite Tex-Mex destination in Orland Park and throughout Chicagoland for a long time to come.”

Chuy’s Orland Park will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday. On weekdays, the restaurant will also feature happy hour drink specials and its Fully-Loaded Nacho Car from 4-7 p.m.

Chuy’s was founded in 1982 in Austin, Texas. The chain offers family recipes from south Texas, New Mexico and Mexican border towns with options including homemade tortillas, fresh guacamole, hand-pulled roasted chicken, margaritas with fresh-squeezed lime juice, and 10 handcrafted signature sauces.

The Orland restaurant will be the chain’s 93rd location.

For more information, visit www.chuy’s.com or check out Chuy’s Orland Park on Facebook.

Bertucci’s closed again in Palos Hills, but not for long

Bertucci’s, which reopened as Bertucci’s Mediterranean Taverna in December 2016 after being closed for several months, closed again a few weeks ago.

All traces of the restaurant at 10331 S. Roberts Road in Palos Hills were scrubbed from social media over the weekend. Its Facebook page was taken down, the Facebook page of former manager Paul Kousis disappeared, former owner Klaudia Szulkowska deleted all references to Bertucci’s from her Facebook page and the website has been taken down.

The restaurant added Greek dishes to its menu when it reopened under the new name.

The business had been listed as a turn-key restaurant for sale for $399,000 on March 5 on the Coldwell Banker Commercial property website.

On Monday, Coldwell’s agent for the property Nick DiBrizzi said the restaurant was under contract to sell. He didn’t know when the sale would close.

“The new owners are experienced in running a restaurant,” he said without naming any names.

The building was extensively remodeled before it reopened.
When it reopened, Kousis said it had new floors, some new décor and a gaming room.

Bertucci’s also was popular for its fenced in outdoor patio.
The sale includes the real estate, the 2,000-square-foot restaurant and all fixtures, equipment and furniture.

If you own a new business you want to see featured in a future column, drop me a line at bobbong@hotmail.com

Smallcakes to open in Orland Park

Matt Hackney will open Smallcakes Cupcakery & Creamery on Saturday, March 25 in Orland Park.

Another specialty baker is coming this week to Orland Park when Smallcakes Cupcakery & Creamery holds its soft opening on Saturday in the Orland Park Crossing shopping center.

For owner Matt Hackney, making the move after 10 years as a commercial banker to cupcake baker was not as hard as it might seem.

“I always wanted to open my own business,” he said. “I gained a lot of experience helping others and about a year ago I started looking for the right business.

“I like to cook and bake recreationally, so a cupcake shop wasn’t that big a reach.”

Smallcakes starts with what Hackney calls “jumbo-sized premium cupcakes” fresh-baked daily in about 15 flavors every day along with specialty flavors that change daily. “They are very high-quality cupcakes.”

In addition, the shop will have ice cream, ice cream infused cupcake, minicakes and Italian-style hot chocolate. There will even be pupcakes so the family dog can get a treat.

Coffee will be added to the menu shortly, Hackney said. Customers can stay on top of changes and cupcake flavors at the shop’s Facebook page, Smallcakes: A Cupcakery & Creamery – Orland Park.

Hackney said every shop is run differently. “We have a lot of freedom in how we operate.”

His store at 14225 S. 95th Avenue will have tables for customers inside and weather-permitting outside.

Hackney will be the driving force at Smallcakes but he will get help from his wife and father-in-law and additional family members he can call on when needed.

“I hired four employees from outside the family,” he said.

The company was founded by Jeff Martin in 2008 with 10 flavors and now has more than 250 locations worldwide. There are eight stores open in Illinois with two coming. Orland shop will be the first in the south suburbs.

The Orland store will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Hackney said a grand opening will take place sometime in early April.

 

Ross opens in Homewood

Ross Dress for Less, the nation’s largest off-price apparel and home fashion chain with more than 1,100 stores, expanded its presence in the Chicago area with the grand opening Saturday, March 4, of three new stores in the southern suburbs.

New stores opened at 17910 S. Halsted St. in Homewood, at 1101 Fifth Avenue in North Hammond, Ind., and 1470 N. Larkin in Joliet. The retailer opened 20 new stores nationwide on March 4.

The new stores bring the total number of Ross Dress for Less locations to more than 40 in the Chicago area. The California-based chain only arrived in the area a few years ago with the opening of its first Illinois store in Orland Park.

Hours at the new stores are 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday.

RadioShack closing in Frankfort

RadioShack is closing its store in Frankfort. (Photo by Bob Bong)

Troubled electronics retailer RadioShack has been holding a store closing sale at its Frankfort location in the Frankfort Crossing plaza at U.S. 30 and LaGrange Road.

The Frankfort location is one of nine stores in Illinois being closed and the only one in the south suburbs. Other locations are in Willowbrook and LaGrange.

Liquidation sales at the stores are expected to be completed by March 28.

The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week, its second such filing in two years. The company is looking to close at least a third of its remaining locations and possibly turn over some to Sprint.

As many as 365 locations could be transferred to Sprint, which operates stores inside some RadioShack stores, the company said in court filings. Among that second group are stores in Chicago’s McKinley Park neighborhoods.

RadioShack said it is still considering its options for the retailer’s remaining 1,000 stores.

Local JCPenney stores not on closing list

Seven Illinois locations are among 138 JCPenney stores closing nationwide, the retailer announced on Friday.

Last month, the Texas-based company announced it was closing a large number of brick-and-mortar stores and several distribution centers across the country to better compete in a changing marketplace where online shopping has become common.

“We are pleased with the double digit growth of jcpenney.com and how leveraging our brick and mortar locations is enabling us to offset the last-mile delivery cost,” the company said in a statement in February.

“We believe closing stores will also allow us to adjust our business to effectively compete against the growing threat of online retailers,” CEO Marvin R. Ellison said.

The Illinois closings include JCPenney stores at the following shopping centers, plus a freestanding location in Macomb:

  • Centerpointe of Woodridge, Woodridge
  • Eastland Mall, Bloomington
  • Fulton Square, Canton
  • Village Square Mall, Effingham
  • Peru Mall, Peru
  • Northland Mall, Sterling

A full timetable for closings has not been released, but JCPenney has said liquidation will begin April 17 and most stores will shut their doors in June.

The closings will affect a reported 5,000 jobs nationwide.

“JCPenney is in the process of identifying relocation opportunities within the Company for esteemed leaders,” the company said Friday in a news release. “Additionally, JCPenney will provide outplacement support services for those eligible associates who will be leaving the Company.”

The closings will not affect stores in Calumet City, Bourbonnais, Orland Park, North Riverside, Joliet, Matteson, Mokena and Ford City Mall.