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Lakeview, Wrigleyville, Northalsted

The Alley’s Lakeview Storefront Is Closing This Weekend As The Iconic Counterculture Store Pivots To Online

Owner Mark Thomas said the Alley has "actually done well" since the coronavirus pandemic hit, but it needs to pivot to the online store because "the future is the internet."

The Alley's Lakeview storefront is closing for good at 6 p.m. Saturday to focus on expanding its online store.
Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago
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LAKEVIEW — The Alley is closing its Lakeview storefront to expand its online business based out of the punk counterculture store’s warehouse in Avondale.

Customers have until 6 p.m. Saturday to shop at the Alley, 843 W. Belmont Ave., before the store closes for good.

The new store, located at 2630 W. Fletcher St., is set to open Oct. 10.

Credit: Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago
Mark Thomas, owner of the Alley, said business has “actually done well after Covid,” but it’s pivoting to its online store because “the future is the internet.”

In a video shared on social media, owner Mark Thomas said the business needs more space to expand its online operations.

“We’ve done pretty good over here. We’ve actually done well after COVID,” Thomas said. “But the future is the internet.”

The new store will allow for virtual tours and have a video setup, photo gallery and vlogging booth to support its online operations, Thomas said.

The building is also where the Alley handles manufacturing and houses 120 tenants from its Art Colony and Music Factory, which rents art studios out to musicians and other artists.

“We need to grow into this [and] change the business model,” Thomas said.

The Alley became legendary in Lakeview at its original location at 3328 N. Clark St., where it weathered 39 years before closing and liquidating in 2016.

Thomas relaunched a new version in 2017. The Alley 1776 at 3221 N. Clark St. had a coffee shop on the first floor and a store on the second. A year later, it closed again, only to reemerge last year to replace Thomas’ other business, Taboo Tabou at 843 W. Belmont Ave.

Credit: Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago
The Alley has an extensive collection of throwback punk and other counterculture fashion.

Jake Wittich is a Report for America corps member covering Lakeview, Lincoln Park and LGBTQ communities across the city for Block Club Chicago.

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