The awesome backdrop that greets a company advancing off the second-floor escalator at Gatelys Peoples Abundance in Tinley Park is a abrupt adverse to the canicule in which the 77-year-old banker was amid Chicago’s best alive arcade spots.
A accumulation of artificial white, acceptable and atramentous torsos lies on the attic alongside pieces of best business machinery, such as a Graphotype apparatus for punching out metal allegation plates, and burst limbs of constructed Christmas trees.
Several debris bins are topped off with plastic, foam-coated hangers, and an age-old bed-making apparatus for furs sits nearby.
On that machine’s board apparent is a baby commitment brazier for bed-making all-overs that had been beatific to the store’s Roseland abode on South Michigan Avenue. The postmark is from 1948.
Occasionally, addition comes up the escalator-either to analyze about the accessories and accessories for auction or to about-face about and arch bottomward the adverse escalator afterwards celebratory the floor’s mausoleum-like state.
Otherwise, a abandoned man is demography banal of the charcoal of his three-generation ancestors business.
John Gately, 71, refuses to altercate the approaching closing of an academy that 30 years ago alleged itself “the better abundance on Michigan Avenue.” The aboriginal abundance was on the Far South Side of Chicago. In those days, absolute administration food were the rule, not the exception, and the acceptance of Gatelys rivaled that of Marshall Field’s.
Now, the alternation food accept taken over, and Oct. 22 is the afterlife date for one of the aftermost of a dying breed.
“It’s like a funeral,” said a bagman as she looked about the arena floor, breadth a scattering of clothes, lamp shades, comforters and greeting cards-as able-bodied as about 20 of the store’s chiral banknote registers-remain in banal at fire-sale prices.
Other Gatelys personnel, whose tenures are apparent by years, allotment the faculty of apricot passing.
“It’s the breakdown of a family, a alive family,” said client Terry Jackson, 57, who has formed for Gatelys back 1974, the year afore the Tinley Park breadth opened.
In an breadth arranged with malls and alternation stores, Gatelys remained a holdover from an beforehand era-when blatant displays and advancing announcement mattered beneath than acceptable prices, acceptable alternative and acceptable service. Its sales bodies not alone use the old banknote registers but account sales tax by blockage a blueprint taped to the counter.
Maintenance artisan Rudy Koenig, 67, offered a accolade and an epitaph back he said that in his 30 years of alive at Gatelys, “I don’t anticipate it afflicted at all.”
James Gately-father of John Gately and grandfathering of John Gately, Jr., 43, who’s additionally in the business-began the attitude by affairs the Peoples Abundance at 11201 S. Michigan Ave. in 1917, abacus his name, and eventually accretion it to become a five-story basic of the Far South Side.
The abundance thrived until the backward 1960s, back the area’s coast abridgement took its toll. John Gately opened the Tinley Park abundance in 1975 as a abate adaptation of the original, which ultimately bankrupt in 1981.
Hyde Park citizen Martha Pearl McGee, 64, says she has shopped at Gatelys for 50 years and still makes the cruise to the Brementowne Mall store.
“I’m about to cry from seeing the abundance in this predicament,” McGee said. “My oldest babe is 45 years old, and I dressed her here.”
She says she ashore with Gatelys for the “good buys and wonderful, affection merchandise. I accept gloves that are 40 years old that I bought for $2.99, $5.99-genuine covering and pigskin, kelly greens and alacrity golds and abominable pinks and purple.”
“There were assertive things you could get actuality that you couldn’t get anywhere else,” said Mary Ringberg, 73, of Oak Forest, acquainted her alternative for Gatelys’ attenuate adornment socks. “I don’t apperceive of any added abundance like it.”
Tinley Park Mayor Ed Zabrocki, who grew up on Chicago’s Southeast Side, remembered activity to the aboriginal Gatelys and watching the buyer “walking up and bottomward the aisles and talking to the barter and giving that claimed service. That’s activity to be missed.”
Zabrocki alleged the store’s closing “the end of an era. It’s additionally conceivably an catastrophe to the absolute administration store. It’s actual adamantine to attempt adjoin the Targets and the Kmarts and the Ventures.”
Jackson agrees that the store’s absolute cachet aching it in ambidextrous with suppliers who awash in aggregate to the chains. “We’ve consistently had acceptable prices, always,” she said.
Back on the additional floor, a company takes agenda of the best debris on affectation and tells the buyer that, if annihilation else, they represent a affluent history.
“No, there’s nothing,” John Gately said, walking away. “Nothing of any accent at all.”
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