A plethora of Herbalife nutrition clubs have popped up on Milwaukee Avenue.
I saw the first one some time over the summer in the building at the southeast corner of Diversey and Milwaukee Avenues with a Diversey Avenue entrance. Fair enough.
But in the past month, another has popped up at 2641 N. Milwaukee Avenue.
And another right next door at 2643 N. Milwaukee Avenue.
And another at 2733 N. Milwaukee Avenue.
There is still another at the corner of Diversey and Kedzie Avenues, and I’m told there are even more further south on Milwaukee Avenue.
You’ll recognize them as storefronts with curtains (often bright orange and green sheers) or blinds, no signage, and folding chairs set up in an otherwise bare room.
Herbalife is a multi-level marketing business, and nutrition clubs are “social gatherings,” “where friends of good nutrition meet every day.”
Unfortunately for the health of Milwaukee Avenue, there are no exclusive territories for these nutrition clubs. Much as I’d like the club owners to be successful at their businesses, I can’t see these lasting and certainly not in the number that are within a quarter mile of one another.
They are not retail stores and only sell product to their club members (and if I understand the business, membership comes with a fee) and then only one item at a time. With the curtains and lack of retail activity, these storefronts become just another blank wall, as windows that lack transparency become blank walls to the people walking by them. (Also see, When does a window become a wall?.)
There is the possibility that the members that the nutrition clubs attract could provide a boost in foot traffic to Milwaukee Avenue, but I haven’t seen it yet.