Thursday, November 15, 2007

Abandoning the Harper Court Ship

posted by Elizabeth Fama

In case you hadn't noticed: the bike shop Wheels & Things has moved out of Harper Court and onto 55th Street -- complete with its self-proclaimed grumpy owner, Richard Padnos, his two very large dogs (who, thank heaven, can no longer wander Harper Court depositing their feces at will and terrorizing canine clients at the Hyde Park Animal Clinic), and a bird cage the size of a bathroom.

The interesting point here isn't the dogs or the cockatoos, though I'm admittedly distracted by them. The interesting point is that another business has left Harper Court and found a better space. You'll recall that Toys, etc. moved from Harper Court in February, and experienced a 60% increase in sales in the first several months. I would be interested to see if Mr. Padnos experiences a similar boost after his move. If any of you readers are brave enough to talk to him, let me know what he says.


chicago pop said...

This place is a classic Hyde Park business. By that I mean, a business that's not in the business of doing business.

The article you source claims his best customers call him an "old fart." We need to start a neighborhood list, since that makes two of 'em. I went in there once to rent two bikes for my father and I and, needless to say, it didn't happen.

But it is quite possible that, despite limitations of this place, he may actually benefit from a change of business ecosystems. We'll have to check back in a few quarters to see how he's doing. Maybe more customers will soften his edge.

SR said...

Wow, thanks for the link to the article on the "gruff" shop owner. It had never occurred to me before that Hyde Park consumers might actually be suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. It would explain so much.

Jonathan said...

Nothing like a neighborhood that believes its residents should be grateful to be granted any type of service at the price of the seller's choosing.

Maybe the commute from the north side is worth it.