LAKEVIEW — The Cubs aren’t the only ones gearing up for Opening Day this week — small businesses in Lakeview and Roscoe Village are getting in on the action, too.
The Lakeview Roscoe Village Chamber of Commerce is highlighting neighborhood options for people to shop and dine locally on Opening Day, whether they have tickets to the game or are watching elsewhere in the area. Stores across Lakeview and Roscoe Village have launched various promotions for Thursday-Sunday for customers wearing Cubs gear or colors.
You can find the chamber’s local guide here for tips on where Cubs fans can shop, eat, drink and order takeout.
“We’re really excited for Opening Day because you see more people in the neighborhood, all in Cubs gear, and the energy is palpable,” said Carisa Marconet, events and marketing director for the chamber.
The Cubs’ faceoff against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday will be the first time since 2019 fans were allowed in the stadium. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the ballpark was off-limits to fans last season, but Wrigley Field got the OK to fill its stands at 20 percent capacity this year.
Marconet said the extra foot traffic in the neighborhood will provide a necessary boon to the local businesses, which have struggled over the past year between the coronavirus pandemic and fan-less baseball games.
“It’s very helpful for our businesses to have more customers and foot traffic to help them get through this pandemic and come out stronger,” Marconet said.
At M2 Boutique, 3525 N. Southport Ave., owner Mel Nelson is offering 25 percent off all handbags and jewelry to customers dressed in red and blue.
“I’ve been on Southport for 15 years, and I’ve been to every single Cubs opening game since then, except for last year, obviously,” Nelson said. “This year, I’ll be at the store working with doors open and ready to see packed sidewalks. I’m excited for the fans to return.”
The next two months are crucial for the business to survive the rest of the coronavirus pandemic, Nelson said. She encourages fans to shop local at boutiques like hers while buying their Cubs gear.
“We also make custom Cubs masks with people’s names on them and carry this really cool line of game-used broken baseball bats, wallets made from uniforms and baseball cuff links,” Nelson said. “People can go online and then look up what game the item was used in, what player pitched the ball or wore the uniform and other details.”
Sean Geoghegan, owner of Roscoe Village Pub, 2159 W. Addison St., said his bar, which has been closed since December, is finally reopening Opening Day to welcome back Cubs fans.
“We’ve been closed in part due to the weather not being cooperative, because we’ve got a patio, but when they let us reopen in the beginning of March we wanted to wait and see how things shake out,” Geoghegan said.
To celebrate the bar’s reopening and Opening Day, Roscoe Village Pub is getting a mural painted on the side of the building featuring the Cubs’ logos throughout the years.
“It’s going to have retro Cubs logos from the ’20s, ’70s and then today, and will say ‘Welcome back, support local and drink local,'” Geoghegan said.
Geoghegan said small local bars like his are great for fans looking to still watch the game but get away from the bustle of the ballpark and its environs.
“We get the kind of fan that lives in the neighborhood — Roscoe Village, Lakeview, North Center or whatever — and wants to get away from Clark Street,” Geoghegan said. “We find them walking from the ballpark and coming to us, or they stop in and have a beer or two on their way to the game.”
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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