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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 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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