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Friday, March 20, 2015

When You Learn a Store With a Cool Name in Your Neighborhood No Longer Exists

I will enrich in the humor of being overly stimulated about the area I grew up in as a child and take extreme pride and devotion in, the suburbs of the Chicago, home of the Cubs, and with God and Robert Lee Zemeckis on are side, we should see a shot at the World Series in 2015.

Got the reference, as the director of Back to the Future II, Robert predicted that in the year 2015, the Cubs would win the World Series and he was also born in Chicago, so those are pretty good odds!

Anyways, as a child, only knowing about the world as something physical, no yet realizing until growing up what the sentimental feelings would be prompted up from childhood experiences that would lead me to write about this topic before you today, comes to the topic of finding out a store that I may have visited frequently growing up, no longer exists, but was located in some of the most common areas within the Chicago suburbs that I am known to spend most of my time around.

The store is called John M Smyth's Homemakers, better known as Homemakers, and they were a furniture store company owned by Levitz furniture, both competed in the Chicago area in the 80's and all throughout the 90's.

Levitz places a bid of 50 million dollars to try and buyout the chain in 1994, to try and return to the city, at they had three stores in the 80s that never caught on. At the first quarter of 1994, Levitz had 121 stores in 25 states, and were determined to open in Vernon Hills, IL, and take over six other Homemakers locations.


By 2001, Homemakers was purchased by Atlanta- based chain Rhodes Furniture, which had 86 stores in 11 states. In 1996, Rhodes was bought by Heilig- Meyers Furniture, which at the time, made them the fourth largest furniture store chain in the country, They tried to make the Rhodes stores more up-scaled, that backfired and they sold the stores in 1999, a year before Levitz had to close 27 stores and reduce its warehouse system from 65 to 17 sights. 

Rhodes went bankrupt in 2004, and closed all of the stores in 2005, which included the Homemaker's locations.

Heilig- Meyer field for bankruptcy in August 2000 after its large expansion did not succeed in creating for revenue.

Levitz suffered bankruptcy multiple times, which each filing brought there store count to dwindle, and in 2008, the recession brought the chain to file for the last, Levitz was bought by a chain of investors and was quickly liquidated at the end of 2008.

You can never have too many commercials:

A very Chicago themed version of the chains advertising, and looks to possibly be the most resent before the chains folding:

As it was a sad day for Chicago furniture shoppers in 2005, as the 140 year old chain announced it was closing there doors at the end of July.
Old ad showing that a John M Smyth Homemakers store opened in Lombard, IL on March 20, 1975, 40 years ago today. (courtesy: Chicago's Extinct Businesses)
Why it matters: Cool Logo. No Longer Available!
Store near the Woodfield Mall, now closed and replaced by Whole Foods and Crate & Barrel, which had been in the mall across the street for since it opened in 1971.

Former Store in Schaumburg, IL

Walls coming down of the former warehouse- style furniture store as plans for a new Crate & Barrel store are underway in 2009.
Links from various news sights:

If anyone has anything to correct, comment, or say, feel free to post below and thank you for reading.

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