ANDERSONVILLE — Andersonville’s newest business hearkens back to the 1950s, selling midcentury modern furniture and home decor in a pop-up shop called Côncept.
Côncept opened Feb. 24 at 5225 N. Clark St. as a temporary store from the team behind Scout, the neighboring design and furniture shop that has been an Andersonville stalwart since 2006.
The pop-up will run through March, selling midcentury modern pieces that in some cases are sourced from Chicago’s most storied architect’s offices, said Côncept and Scout owner Larry Vodak.
Côncept took over the former Candyality storefront, after the shop decided to close its Andersonville location in an effort to survive the pandemic. Scout rents in the same Clark Street building as Candyality, and the furniture shop began using the vacant storefront as storage, Vodak said.
At the same time, Vodak and his team were considering what to do with some new midcentury pieces it had procured. Landlord Pete Valavanis allowed Vodak to use the former Candyality storefront for a pop-up shop while he looks for a new permanent tenant for the location, Vodak said.
“We’ve been collecting some really nice, pedigreed, midcentury pieces that weren’t easy to fit in” to the showroom at Scout, 5221 N. Clark St., Vodak said. “We got the idea to do a temporary space. It’s been very exciting for us.”
Pieces available at Côncept come from well-known designers like Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Charles and Ray Eames.
Some pieces were sourced from the former offices of famed architects, including lounge chairs from the offices of Helmut Jahn and granite tables from the former offices of Chicago-based Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Vodak said. A 1940s-era stainless steel countertop available at Côncept comes from a defunct Kentucky ice cream shop.
“It’s furniture that has simple, clean lines, almost an architectural sense,” Vodak said.
Côncept has been a big hit thus far, Vodak said.
The opening weekend was one of the best Vodak has ever done as a businessman, he said. The business has been approached by chambers of commerce and antique mall managers throughout the area to bring the pop-up to other locations, Vodak said. He is considering hosting future pop-ups as long as he can continue to source such furniture.
“Home furnishings is exploding right now, because people are spending so much time at home,” Vodak said. “We’ve just been amazed. It’s been a remarkable response.”
Scout has done some other expanding in Andersonville. The furniture store’s interior design business has taken over the second-floor space above Candyality, turning what was a two-bedroom apartment into an office and design studio.
Vodak was not formally trained in interior design but got his start when asked in 2011 to decorate the Museum of Science and Industry’s smart home exhibit. The business has grown steadily since then, requiring the addition of two employees and a dedicated work space, Vodak said.
“We were trying to blend [the interior decorating business] into the retail space and it got more difficult to do,” he said. “This gives us a chance to separate church and state.”
As Scout expands and tries new endeavors, Vodak said he is grateful to be an anchor business of his home neighborhood of Andersonville.
“There’s this pride here that people take in local shops,” he said. “It’s what distinguishes Andersonville from other communities.”
Côncept is open Thursday-Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. through March 31. For more information or to make a shopping appointment, call Scout at 773-275-5700.
Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.