Loop Living is now advertising that "everything is on sale."
For the first time in nearly three decades, the Loop will be without a furniture store this spring. Loop Living (6303 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-863-7709)
plans to close its doors next week, owner Jay Trudeau says.
However, its large storefront in the heart of the commercial district won't become another vacancy. Trudeau says he is in the process of moving his gift shop Sunshine Daydream (6608 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-727-9043)
into the space instead.
For 25 years, the hippie-themed store has slowly grown and expanded, moving from the second floor to the first and taking over other storefronts to accommodate its business. Now Trudeau says it's reached the limits of what it can do with the space at 6608 Delmar.
Trudeau says he'll begin moving in Sunshine Daydream's merchandise throughout the week even while continuing to deeply discount Loop Living's, creating a seamless transition where the business will never actually be formally shuttered.
"It's a larger store with taller ceilings," he says of the Loop Living space. "We'll be able to display our things better in a bigger space." It's also, he says, perfectly located near the first trolley stop within the Loop — which is what he was counting on when he moved Loop Living there in late 2016.
"The trolley was supposed to come in 2016, but it's 2018 and nothing," he says. "We banked on the fact that the trolley would bring people in ... but the impacts haven't been felt yet."
Loop Living originally opened on the corner of Limit Avenue and Delmar in 2014, taking over what used to be a furniture store called Pizzazz (and before that, Futon Express). Last year, it moved into the storefront a bit further west, a larger shop that had once held Rocket Fizz.
Its move seemed poised to take advantage of the departure of Good Works Furniture, which pulled out of the Loop in September 2014 after 23 years
. At the time, owners Chris Dougher and Rita Navarro told the RFT
that the Loop had changed from a neighborhood street to an entertainment district, which brings foot traffic to bars and novelty shops — but not to furniture stores.
The pair also said they had no interest in dealing with the trolley, either its construction or its operation. "We are not going to endure the trolley traffic construction only...to end up with a mess," Navarro said at the time.
And while Trudeau is eagerly awaiting the foot traffic the trolley will bring, he agrees that the Loop doesn't really make sense for a furniture store anymore. When Good Works was still on the street, Pizzazz and then Loop Living were able to take advantage of its customers; if they hit one store looking for big-ticket items, why not hit both? That dynamic has changed, he says.
Sunshine Daydream plans to keep some of the popular items carried by Loop Living, including marquee boards and glasses. But they'll be smaller gift items, not couches or tables.
"If the trolley finally opens up in May or June and the tourists come, it's going to be great," he says. "This is still the No. 1 Great Street in America. It's just hit a bump in the road. It will bounce back."
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