Former Levi’s store location to house financial service institution

Ben Winck, Assistant City Editor

A financial services institution will replace the Levi’s retail store at 808 Church St.

Although the yet-to-be-announced financial institution does differ from the restaurants and retail stores on Clark Street, Downtown Evanston executive director Annie Coakley said its owners were eager to move in.

The financial services business will sit between Barnes & Noble and Five Guys Burgers and Fries, across the street from Citibank. Coakley said the institution should do well, considering where it is located.

“It’s a major center for downtown with high pedestrian traffic,” Coakley said. “They’ll attract the residents above and the people who go to work around there everyday.”

The Levi’s store closed Sept. 26 after operating in downtown Evanston since spring 2007. Although the store remained in Evanston for nearly a decade, its biggest challenge was differentiating itself from other clothing retailers, Coakley said.

“People assumed the Levi’s jeans in the store could be found at other stores. But their particular product in that store was higher-end,” Coakley said. “The jeans in that store were made with higher quality, higher design.”

Coakley added that online retailers and the convenience they provide have challenged Evanston businesses, and so businesses are looking to differentiate themselves.

“Everyone shops online. We’re going after the experience of shopping,” Coakley said. “We have other spaces that are vacant right now, and we’re actively trying to pursue tenants that we think would do well here by providing entertainment or an in-store experience.”

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