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Is Downtown Skokie Getting a Coffee Shop?

The new CTA Oakton Stop on Skokie Boulevard is said to bring in new business. That theory may already be coming into play as this local resident is looking to bring downtown Skokie it's first true coffee shop.

For nearly a decade downtown Skokie has wanted two things: A new CTA station at Oakton Street and Skokie Boulevard and a coffee shop.

While the above is a slight exaggeration, it does paint a bigger picture of what’s being done to transform downtown Skokie into an attractive destination not only for shoppers and diners, but also for new coffee drinking commuters.

the village sought after two major coffee sellers– Starbucks and Caribou – but never reached an agreement on the location. Both businesses wanted to build their stores at the traffic circle It would have been similar to the Starbucks at the Skokie Swift.

Now, 40-year-old Craig Hahn is looking to fill that void, but at a different location. The Skokie resident is currently in the process of opening a coffee shop at 4904 Oakton St., or right next door to

“I've not had one person say this is a bad idea,” said Hahn regarding his prospective coffee shop. "It's something I've wanted to do for a long time."

Hahn was present with his daughter The former Chicago stock broker said the new train station was the primary reason he chose his location; but it wasn't always his first choice.

"I probably wouldn’t have thought of doing this – being in the board of trade – when I first thought of the area," Hahn said. "Puppy Lovers was my first choice, but it was cost prohibitive and it wasn't in the TIF district."

Hahn was referring to the odd shaped blue vacant building across the street from the Oakton Stop on Skokie Boulevard. He said he chose that location because the store's taxes would have gone to School District 69, which is where his kids currently attend school.

However, the village offers $50,000 for most people looking to open a new store in downtown Skokie. In many cases, the money is used to complete indoor renovations, a cost usually associated with opening a new business. Hahn said the train station and TIF funding played a key role when reconsidering his location.  

"The Roost Cafe"

While the name isn't official, Hahn said he is thinking of calling his store the Roost Cafe. And while there's bakery shops and diners that sell coffee, Hahn said there's little competition for what he's trying to do in the area.

One of his ideas include having a walkup window for customers for the morning commute during 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., he said.

"If you just want a cup of coffee and a bagel and pastry, you can do that," he said. "It'd be kind of like the Doughnut Hole in Chicago."

In the meantime, the store isn't official, and Hahn said he is currently seeking some capital or possibly a business partner. 

"I have my business plan 95 percent done," he said. "I’m trying to take my time and do it right. My objective is to start by late Fall."

Read more: Skokie may look like a Check the site on Wednesday as we report how many new jobs will be created from the upcoming Touhy Marketplace, XSport Fitness and more.

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Scott Holtz May 07, 2012 at 01:11 PM
It should be noted that this money is not a give-away. It is matching funds. Business Owner/Landlord funds are matched up to the amounts you mention but some of that number is for interior and some for exterior qualifying improvements. The full info about how much is available, how it can be used and where it is available can be found on the Village of Skokie's website: http://www.skokie.org/downtown/development.cfm
Longtime Skokie Resident May 07, 2012 at 01:18 PM
Roost Cafe sounds like a breakfast dine-in restaurant rather than a coffeehouse. If I was looking for coffee-to-go, I'd bypass the place due to the name. Hey, how about Skokie Coffeehouse?
David Zornig May 07, 2012 at 03:10 PM
I'm surprised the old Puppy Lovers location isn't covered by the TIF. If any place needed matching funds it's that one. That side of the street qualified for the recent sidewalk and street lamp replacements, since it faced the train. Therefore it should be considered part of downtown. I looked at both locations when I had my store. The rents just were not reasonable. I actually liked the wild interior paint job in the spot next to Annie's.
My Skokie 2000 May 07, 2012 at 03:47 PM
Yes! Finally! Come to downtown Skokie! I will be your first customer! =)
Kristin May 07, 2012 at 05:46 PM
What a thrill! Such great news. Best of luck to you, Craig!
Joseph Bakes May 07, 2012 at 09:35 PM
I have been wondering this, why was Puppy Lovers closed? I thought the ASPCA shut it down because it closed around the same time they made a huge nation wide raid, but I never confirmed this, anybody know?
Freddie May 07, 2012 at 11:03 PM
I'm excited for a coffee shop in downtown Skokie! I'll be there every day...
Steve Mottel May 07, 2012 at 11:59 PM
Craig, check out Newport cofffee in Bannockburn, great place. Good luck!
Dana May 08, 2012 at 12:14 AM
Sweety Pies @ 8042 N. Lincoln Ave is in Downtown Skokie & serves Intelligentsia Coffee, Espresso Based drinks (Lattes, Cappuccinos, etc.) made in the truest coffee shop style, hand tamped & all!~ SO don't forget about us and try our coffee to go or sit in our Cafe.
George Slefo (Editor) May 08, 2012 at 03:07 AM
Hey all - We originally said we'd be running a story about how many jobs will be coming to Skokie over the next two years. That story is actually running on Wednesday, not Tuesday. Apologies for the confusion. Best, George
Frank May 08, 2012 at 01:34 PM
I'd love to be walking on Oakton and pass a walk-up window for coffee and some friendly local conversation...,,good luck. I hope we can look forward to this and other UP-SCALE businesses on Oakton.
Frank May 08, 2012 at 01:35 PM
Sorry I forget to mention that if you look at Libertad.....it proves if you get the right location and produce an excellent product, THEY WILL COME.
Andrea Horyn May 08, 2012 at 02:24 PM
Thanks for the encouragement, Frank! Bughouse Studio is another great example. Just like Libertad, we strive for a great product and service and Skokie has been great to us! The community has been very supportive and we've only been on Oakton since August. We are very happy with our decision to open up in Downtown Skokie! Let's keep working together to support this downtown!
Scott Holtz May 08, 2012 at 05:34 PM
I keep looking for the "like" button... Thanks, Andrea!
Steve & Judy Pollack May 08, 2012 at 11:24 PM
I give Kudos for anyone taking the chance to start their own business in thie economy. All the luck and hope for the future of you and Skokie;s new establishment. Good Luck Craig and Shari. Steve & Judy
Katie Gudgel May 09, 2012 at 01:32 PM
The Puppy Lovers building is probably within a TIF, but a different one. There are three different TIF districts in Skokie - Downtown, Science & Tech Park, and Dempster. The Puppy Lovers is probably in the Science & Tech Park TIF. The Village has spent a significant portion of the money from that TIF on the sidewalk and street improvements you mentioned as well as the CTA station itself. To my knowledge only the Downtown TIF is being used to directly assist retailers and landlords with rennovations.
Chris May 10, 2012 at 02:04 AM
This should be great to revitalize business along this corridor. Way to go Craig and family!! We'll stop by for coffee often on our way to the play areas around there for children. Chris, Nancy, and Pierce
Marcia Seiden June 12, 2012 at 06:37 PM
I LOVE The Idea Of A Cofee House With A Walk Up Window Right By The Yellow Lines Newest Stop On Oakton St... It Is NEEDED!!! I HOPE The Prices Will Be Fair & The Coffee EXCELLENT. I Will Be There ALOT!!!

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