WEST LOOP — After nearly five years in the West Loop, Live Grit is closing its doors this weekend.
The sports and recreational bicycle shop at 1011 W. Monroe St. offered items at discounted prices before closing at 4 p.m. Sunday.
While other shops and restaurants have closed due to steep rent hikes in the booming West Loop, owner Gillian Fealy said that wasn’t the case for Live Grit. The decision came down to a change in the retail environment, the 34-year-old told Block Club Chicago.
“We took a big hit the last few years with a decline in sales,” Fealy said. “People are purchasing more online and we had to make up … by offering more [bike repair] services.”
When the shop opened in early 2014, they sold bicycles and other gear for triathletes like wetsuits, swimming accessories and clothing. Live Grit was more of a “destination shop” for triathletes in the city and morphed into a neighborhood bike shop as the West Loop changed, Fealy said.
The owner noticed a sharp drop off in sales about three years ago, and the shop tried to adjust to the change in customer behavior by expanding bike services.
Healy emphasized the importance of supporting local, independent businesses. “Retail is tough,” Fealy said. “Shopping local does matter … and every little bit helps.”
Late Friday afternoon, Fealy lauded the Live Grit staff, calling them the “best people” and the shop “a team effort.”
Over the years, Live Grit has cultivated “a great community of athletes … and that’s hardest that we are losing that,” Fealy said. The owner is working to find a spot for the community to continue to train, but in the meantime, plans to organize fun runs and rides through the Live Grit website.
“We will continue to engage the community just in a different way,” Fealy said.
More information on Live Grit’s training and events can be found here.
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