Take the Cheetah challenge!

Grace’s Furniture/Cheetah Gym building

The first building of prominence as you travel north on Milwaukee Avenue from Logan Square’s square (BTW, it’s not at all square, but oval in shape–and may be a topic for a future post!) is the former Grace’s Furniture building.

Some may know this as the location of the once future Cheetah Gym Logan Square location. The hope of what was once heralded by many as a welcome addition to the Milwaukee Avenue corridor seems to have all but vanished from the landscape. A recent check with the manager confirms that there are no current plans to open a Logan Square location of Cheetah Gym. [Update: Cheetah Gym is on again! (See One step backwards, two steps forward on Milwaukee Avenue.)]

The loyal opposition, on the other hand, who feared the impact of the Cheetah Gym (you know, more people on–and the revitalization of– the street) and loathed the introduction of a non-(hyper)local business (while Chicago-based, the owners don’t live the in the neighborhood), may be disconcertingly content disconcerted.

Grace\'s Furniture/Cheetah Gym windows become walls - Milwaukee Ave.

Grace’s Furniture/Cheetah Gym
Windows Become Walls – Milwaukee Ave.

The upside potential was that there would be is a marked increase in foot traffic on Milwaukee Avenue. The downside reality is that we now have a row of windows that has in effect become a wall (see my earlier post, When does a window become a wall?).

With no reason to stop or slow down to browse or observe what’s inside the windows, passersby instead pick up the pace and perhaps additionally miss what’s in the windows next door.

Cheetah challenge!

The building has not been sold. It’s under the same long-time ownership. Cheetah Gym had a long-term lease, but it is not opening anytime soon, if at all. Isn’t there anything that can be done to the windows in the meantime so that they enhance rather than detract from business on Milwaukee Avenue?

That’s the Cheetah challenge!

Here are some ideas to get things started:

  1. Put some posters in the windows of celebrities working out. I’ve seen ones of Marilyn Monroe and Arnold Schwarzenegger, for example.
  2. With the 2008 summer games coming up and Chicago hoping to get the nod for the 2016 Olympics, post some photos and stories of Olympians.
  3. Most gyms provide health and fitness related information to their members in fliers or newsletters; present that type of information in an equally professional way and an enlarged scale in the windows.
  4. Provide wellness information and statistics (again in a professional/enlarged manner): target heart rate and BMI formulas, nutritional information, how to reduce stress, and calories burned/caloric equivalents, for example.
  5. Post fitness challenges like walk every street in the neighborhood for a total of __ miles, or do jumping jacks at the monument, jog to the new skate park, close your eyes and stand on one leg for balance, etc.
  6. Especially since we don’t know that a gym will in fact locate there, Post some history of the building, of the neighborhood, of famous residents.
  7. Posts some stories of current residents we should know.
  8. …etc., etc.

Grace\'s Furniture/Cheetah Gym windows closerLook at the photo to the left; then tell me. What are your suggestions for enhancing these windows while the space remains vacant?

Take the Cheetah challenge!

2 Responses to Take the Cheetah challenge!

  1. Lee says:

    I love the idea of the history of the building or neighborhood, or stories from well-known locals. Or another idea is maybe you could have residents draw pictures of what they’d like to be able to see through the windows, and put those up. Or use it as a display for art from local schools.

  2. Marlynn says:

    I like the fitness theme. Maybe it will get people more interested in the Gym and they will open sooner. How about posters showing streches you can do while waiting for the bus?