Amphora home decor store to leave Park Ridge, reopen in Niles

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Jennifer JohnsonContact ReporterPioneer Press

APark Ridge entrepreneur says a booming business and lack of building space are reasons behind her move to new quarters outside the city.

Debi Spellman’s Amphora Home Accents is slated to reopen this fall at Oak Mill Mall, at the corner of Oakton Street and Milwaukee Avenue, in Niles. Spellman, who aims to be back up and running by mid-October, announced the closure of her Uptown Park Ridge location on social media Sept. 6.

“I did not do this lightly,” she told the Park Ridge Herald-Advocate. “I sat for a very long time to consider this. I live in Park Ridge and want to do business in Park Ridge, but it was very difficult to do that.”

Spellman, a close-out buyer who opened the home decor stop at 143 Vine Ave. in March, said she quickly outgrew the 500-square-foot storefront due to the demand for her merchandise, which also included furniture.

“T-shirts we could have managed, but sofas? No,” Spellman said with a laugh.

She said she had planned as early as April to expand into the vacant, neighboring commercial space, which was once part of Bob’s Bike Shop, but saw no activity from the building’s owner to clean and prepare it for her retail business.

“I just couldn’t wait any longer,” Spellman said. “[My business] grew so quickly that I couldn’t keep things coming in fast enough. Sometimes you have to move on. You have to do what you need to do.”

One half of the former bicycle shop is now Vine Street Design, a custom cabinet business, while the other half, next door to Amphora, is vacant. In 2016, a hair salon was proposed for the space.

A building representative with whom Spellman said she had discussed her desire to expand could not be reached for comment.

Amphora’s new location in Niles consists of about 3,200 square feet and a loading dock, which will better accommodate deliveries, Spellman said. It will also allow for storage of items, so more can be purchased at one time, she indicated.

Shoppers will continue to find artwork, lamps, mirrors, pillows, rugs, and an assortment of other home decor, as well as the opportunity to order custom-made furnishings, Spellman said.

Spellman was one half of the team that ran Amphora Home Furnishings on Northwest Highway in Uptown from 2007 to 2013. That business began at 137 N. Northwest Highway before moving to the large corner location in the new Shops of Uptown in 2009.

In late 2016, Spellman opened Cool Stuff Half Off, a pop-up store selling largely a stock of artificial Christmas trees, inside the old Bob’s Bike Shop.

As more and more customers began asking Spellman if she would be bringing her home furnishings back to Park Ridge, she decided to do it, she told the Park Ridge Herald-Advocate earlier this year.

Rent was not an issue in her decision to relocate, Spellman said, though she did say she believes high commercial rent due to high property taxes in Park Ridge can make it difficult for many small businesses.

“I hope that’s something that can be worked out,” she said.

Spellman acknowledged that while she hasn’t “strayed too far from Park Ridge” with her new location, she would have liked to remain in the city.

“I’m very sad,” she said. “I live in Park Ridge, and I support Park Ridge merchants. I think it’s important to have a community with entrepreneurs and local stores and boutiques that make things different than other areas. That’s what makes Park Ridge special.”