CREST HILL – Hillcrest Shopping Center is looking for a store to fill the spot Rand’s Hallmark vacated after 30 years in Crest Hill.
The store was a mainstay since 1984 in Hillcrest and was the center of a regional Hallmark chain that grew to 18 locations at one point. But the business collapsed in June with six stores left. Another Hallmark operator bought the assets and reopened all but the Hillcrest store.
“Nobody has taken the space yet,” Hillcrest Shopping Center manager Rick Pabst said, although he has been talking with some vendors who are interested in setting up shop. “It’s still available, there is nothing firm yet.”
Pabst said that because big retail stores are selling more items usually found in card shops, there is less demand for specialty gift shops.
Pabst, who regularly works with the city of Crest Hill, wants to make sure the next occupant of the space contributes to the city.
“We don’t want a massage parlor, a tattoo parlor or anything like that,” Pabst said. “We have always been the hub of the city, and we’re proud of it. We don’t just want anybody in there. We want somebody that’s good and can contribute to the community.”
Debt along with the economic downturn caused financial strains on Rand’s Hallmark, forcing it to shut down.
Rand’s Hallmark’s assets were sold Aug. 2 to Kirlin’s Hallmark, an independently owned Hallmark Gold Crown location with 91 stores in 10 states.
Kirlin’s reopened former Rand’s Hallmark stores in Frankfort, Homer Township, Orland Hills, Oswego and Tinley Park.
While those locations opened, Kirlin’s Hallmark decided not to reopen the Crest Hill location.
“It was just a business decision and we didn’t go for it at the time,” said Laura Sievert, marketing director for Kirlin’s Hallmark.
Sievert said many factors go into determining if a store should be reopened, but she declined to comment on the decision to not open the Crest Hill store.