To the Editor:
I have run a small business in Hyde Park for the past five years, the Hyde Park Print Shop. I am thankful for this opportunity to live my dream. Recently, though, I had to close up business on 53rd Street not merely due to the change in ownership of the property I occupied but also due to the economic times of the past year. The new owner, the University of Chicago, had a vision for the property that would need it to become vacant so that they could invest the capital into it that has been long overdue. I understood this as they began communication early on and made information very accessible to me as they moved forward with their ownership.
As I looked for another site to reopen in Hyde Park, I received the type of support from the University of Chicago one could only hope for. Through its real estate department they not only assisted in locating other possible locations, but also with lease negotiations, advertisement of my services and a revised business plan, as well as other financial planning that I would never have had access to if not for them.
Since then, I have found out I am not as “special” as I thought. When it comes to small businesses in Hyde Park, this is the norm, not the exception, when it comes to the university. From procurement of goods and services to providing small business services, the U. of C. goes far and beyond for local business.
Although I am no longer on 53rd Street, I am still in business and I have the University of Chicago to thank for this. Hyde Park’s history is a long and storied history; the commitment by the U. of C. to the local retailers and community at large is both encouraging and exciting from the view of this small business owner as I look to the future.
Imanuel “Manny” Basley
Hyde Park Print Lounge