A new Krispy Kreme doughnut shop in Homewood will be the first in the company’s effort to resurrect its retail operations in the Chicago area. It will replace Washington Square Pancake House this summer.
The Homewood Board of Trustees approved an ordinance Tuesday, June 14, that amends the planned unit development agreement (PUD) for the site, paving the way for construction of the new store.
The store at 17815 Halsted St. is being developed by Chicagoland Restaurants LLC, a licensed Krispy Kreme franchisee that plans to build eight locations in the Chicago area. Krispy Kreme’s retail operations disappeared from the area nearly a decade ago after the company ran into financial trouble.
Company President Carlos Larcada said the recession was part of the problem, but the stores were doing well.
“They were busy, producing stores,” he said.
With finances stabilized now, the company is bringing them back.
Larcada told the board that the Homewood store will be the first in the Chicago area to use a new building design and the third company-wide.
The board agreed to several changes to the existing PUD to accommodate the company’s plan.
The amendments to the PUD include an allowance for fewer parking spaces than required. According to the building size, 32 spaces would have been required, but company officials argued that 25 would be sufficient. They noted that the majority of space is used for kitchen and storage and half the customer traffic is expected to use the drive-through, reducing the demand for parking places.
Signage will be slightly larger than the previous PUD limit. The old limit would have been almost 225 square feet, but the company asked for permission to post signage of about 229 square feet.
The plans and PUD variances were approved by the village Site Plan Review Committee, Appearance Commission and Planning and Zoning Commission.
Trustees expressed admiration for the new store design and welcomed the business to town.
“I like what I hear that you do a lot of community fundraising and reaching out to be part of the community,” Trustee Anne Colton said. “The more we can put our businesses and our nonprofit stuff we do together, it’s better for everybody.”
Larcada confirmed that the company plans to be a good community partner.
He said the Washington Square lease expires July 4, and demolition of the old restaurant should begin soon after that. He expects the new store to open in mid-October.
Less enthusiastic about the coming store is Jim Tsakonas, owner of Washington Square Pancake House.
Tsakonas said he is unsure what will become of the business, which has been operating at the Halsted Street location for 33 years, and feels that his small business is being cast aside in favor of a big corporation.
He said he is worried about his staff.
“We have 25 to 28 people,” he said. “Some have been here almost 30 years.”
He said he is looking for a new location, but as of Tuesday had not secured one.
The property is owned by Shiner Group LLC.