LOGAN SQUARE — Colorful party goods and gift store Festive Collective is moving after six years on Logan Square’s Armitage Avenue — but it’s not going far.
Festive Collective is leaving its pastel pink store at 3279 W. Armitage Ave. for a larger space near the Logan Square Blue Line station at 2643 ½ N. Milwaukee Ave. The shop’s last day on Armitage Avenue is Aug. 27.
Owner Angela Wator said she made the difficult decision to leave the Armitage Avenue spot after her landlord — Busy Beaver Button founder Christen Carter — put the building on the market this spring. Within days, the building sold to someone looking to do a revamp, Wator said.
Festive Collective’s second location opened last summer in Oak Park around the same time the new owner bought the Armitage building, Wator said.
“The building was going to go on the market, and it was the same week we had just opened our second location. Being a very small business, it just wasn’t financially feasible to buy a building and open a second store all in the same year,” Wator said.
Wator opened the original Festive Collective shop in 2016, a year after founding the party and paper brand BASH Party Goods. The Logan Square shop carries party supplies from BASH and other brands, along with home goods, stationery, vintage clothing and local art.
Wator goes all out for holidays, decorating the shop with seasonal props, some of which are for sale.
Over the years, Festive Collective has thrown popular events highlighting the work of local artists and makers.
The store brought life to a quiet stretch of Armitage Avenue that has grown into a small business corridor in recent years with the addition of businesses including Haru Sushi and Wish Me Luck Tattoo. Vegan restaurant Ground Control and Damn Fine Coffee Bar have held down the block for longer.
“When we first moved to the area, there was no foot traffic during the day. Whole days would go by where we’d see nobody,” Wator said. “But a year later, we’d have lines around the block [for events]. We’re really sad to leave that.”
Finding a new spot in Logan Square wasn’t easy. Wator said she struggled to find an affordable lease after the Armitage Avenue building sold and was worried she’d get priced out of the gentrifying neighborhood.
“A lot of the new spaces available in new construction [buildings] — prices are just so much higher than anything we’d previously seen,” she said.
When Wator found the Milwaukee Avenue storefront, she knew it was the one, she said. The space is larger than the original shop with tall ceilings and huge windows, and it’s on a bustling stretch of the street near the Blue Line.
“When I was looking in other neighborhoods, I couldn’t get over the idea of leaving Logan. It felt like a betrayal after everyone in the neighborhood helped us through our COVID closure,” Wator said.
“People were sending us drawings of the storefront. A little girl made a cardboard cutout of our storefront and put merchandise in it. These things kept me going this whole time. I was like, ‘We can’t leave Logan Square.’ And I’m glad I didn’t give up.”
With the new location secured, Wator is spending the next few weeks packing up the Armitage Avenue store and preparing for a moving sale Aug. 27. The sale will include fixtures, seasonal props and locally made art, along with other items amassed over the past six years.
“So many special items were made for us over the years. I’ve hung onto everything,” Wator said.
If everything goes according to plan, Festive Collective will reopen on Milwaukee Avenue Sept. 3.
In the meantime, Wator is saying goodbye to the storefront at the center of her life for the past six years.
Wator said she doesn’t know what’s in store for the building after the sale, but she has no hard feelings toward Carter, who has been a “great” steward of the building.
Carter said she offered to sell the building to Wator before putting it on the market. She also said she gave Wator four months notice to give her enough time to find a new space. Longtime residents and business owners bought the building, Carter said. The new owners declined an interview.
“I moved in when my first daughter was born, so my kids kinda grew up in that space. I had just moved to Chicago when I rented that storefront, so everyone I know in the city, everyone that I have collaborated with or worked with through the years, I met all of them through that shop, so it’s going to be an important part of my life forever,” Wator said. “A lot of the neighbors have lived there since we moved in, so we’re used to seeing the same people every day, even if it’s just the one guy who gets a card one day a week.
“All of those people will come to the other shop, but it won’t be quite the same.”
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