After 117 years, family-run Good’s of Evanston closes for good

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Photo courtesy Shaun Chinsky

Good’s of Evanston, 714 Main St. The family-run custom framing store will close after 117 years.

Sneha Dey, City Editor

After 117 years, the family-run Good’s of Evanston will close, forcing long-time customers to look elsewhere for custom framing needs.

Good’s of Evanston, located at 714 Main St., will continue to fulfill commitments made to customers and sell some limited supplies. No official date has been set for closing but owner Shaun Chinsky told The Daily he expects services to shut down before August.

The Chinsky family has run the store for four generations, after his grandfather purchased the business from the Goods family in 1951.

Growing up, Chinsky would skateboard around the store after hours. After his father died 15 years ago, Chinsky left his job in marketing to take over the store.

“The store is like a family member,” Chinsky said. “It’s a constant. How do you describe air?”

The store has evolved over the past century to adapt to customer needs. Good’s was originally a paint and wallpaper store. In the 1970s, the store started to sell artisan materials. After the 2008 recession, Chinsky said the store moved to focus on custom framing.

But recently, Chinsky said the cost and complexity of running a business has grown faster than the store can grow revenue. Chinsky said he had been considering changes to the store for the past 18 months to continue at the quality of production customers expected. The pandemic made already present challenges worse.

“Winding this down..It’s going to be very draining emotionally because I’ve spent my entire life around the store,” Chinsky said. “The hardest part is losing something you’ve spent so much time creating and carrying on.”

Good’s is one of several Evanston staples to close amid the pandemic. Katherine Gotsick, of the Main-Dempster Mile, said family-owned businesses face unique challenges with management turnovers. Good’s is the second oldest business in the city.

While other businesses on the Main-Dempster Mile have struggled under the stay-at-home order, Gotsick said no other store has brought up plans to close.

Gotsick said Chinsky has acted as a mentor to new owners over the years. She said the employees have always been particularly warm and friendly. Chinsky said he will assist the employees with transition.

Jill Sevelow, who lives around the corner of Good’s, said the store was “the fabric of our neighborhood.”

When her first grandchild was born, her daughter made her a painting, which Sevelow got framed at Good’s. She said she wouldn’t have been able to trust any other store with the painting.

“This has been the year in Evanston where a number of my shops have disappeared, and it gives me a big lump in my throat,” said Sevelow, who used to work at a family-owned business.

Lifelong Evanston resident Gabi Walker-Aguilar said she often wandered into Good’s as a child, while she waited for her mother at the fabric store next door. She used to play with the supplies and said the store was where she developed her first love of art.

The store closing is a reminder for Walker-Aguilar that time is passing. She describes the store as “one of the greats…one of our big elm trees.”

“The store would welcome me and make me feel comfortable… that’s the feeling of Evanston I grew up with. And I am a black woman,” said Walker-Aguilar. “What’s ironic is I’m dealing with more racism now in 2020. Good’s takes me back to the good times.”

Correction: This article has been updated to clarify Chinsky had not been looking to close the store prior to the pandemic, but was looking to make changes that would allow Good’s to continue delivering quality and services customers expected.

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