Neighborhood Snapshot – The Jeffery Dollar Store

By Andrew Holzman

Photo by Andrew Holzman

The Jeffery Dollar Store, 1443 E. 53rd St., is the kind of business that, though it probably escapes most Hyde Parkers’ radars, forms an unconscious landmark in the 53rd Street window-shopping experience. Even if you don’t know about it, you know it.

But owner’s son and manager Ahmed Qurt thinks Hyde Parkers should stop in and look around. He says you’ll probably see merchandise you weren’t expecting.

Qurt said many of the items in his store are things one might not find elsewhere in Hyde Park, such as luggage, kitchen supplies and area rugs: “For luggage and furniture — otherwise you’d have to go downtown.”

And while Jeffery has made the switch from a dollar store to a “dollar-and-up” store, Qurt said prices are still lower than Michigan Avenue’s. A small side table stood on sale near the kitchen implements for around $20.

Although Qurt does see business from Hyde Park’s wealthier residents — he said he has in the past repaired cell phones for bankers – the majority of his customers are what he called “regular, average people.”

“They’re looking for a decent price and a lot of things you can’t find in Hyde Park.”

People who walked into the store, often looking slightly overwhelmed by shelves stocked with everything from cheap trinkets to frying pans, were consistently greeted with a “hello, friend” from the manager, who seemed to be in the business in part for the fun of it.

“We’re not tight with one line,” Qurt said. “We sell anything in this store; my options are open.”