CHICAGO — The future is uncertain for dozens of vendors who have called Little Village’s Discount Mall home for decades.
Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th Ward) updated the public Wednesday on “legal litigation against Novak Construction,” according to a press release from his office. An emergency injunction hearing scheduled for Thursday could buy the vendors about 10 days.
“Hopefully within those 10 days, we could reach an agreement,” Sigcho-Lopez said. “We can discuss with Novak and the city a plan to relocate that is secure and feasible.”
The action comes after 80 Little Village Discount Mall vendors were given eviction notices in February.
At the time, they were given until Mar. 26 to liquidate their merchandise and be out of the mall.
“We need time. We need to stay at the Discount Mall and when this is ready, we can move,” said Kocoy Malagon, who has been selling quinceanera dresses at her business for 14 years.
Malagon told WGN News that her surrounding vendors are like family, but come Sunday, she could be saying goodbye.
“Can you imagine inventory for 14 years?” Malagon said.
The city is working to throw vendors a lifeline.
“The city had no choice but to intervene to save the businesses and jobs,” Sigcho-Lopez said. “The city has funding to support small businesses and that’s what we are looking for…that (the city) accommodate, given the emergency,” Sigcho-Lopez said.
Sigcho-Lopez and others toured a vacant building Wednesday at 26th and Pulaski, which could be a new home for the soon-to-be-displaced businesses. But the building is not yet ready. Whenever that changes, vendors and alderpersons say they would be happy to move and breathe new life into a new location.
“Bringing Discount Mall vendors here to 26th Street would increase the vitality of Pulaski – the second Mag Mile,” said Ald. Michael Rodriquez (22nd Ward). “It would bring more business. This would be a potentially great deal for everyone.”
On Mar. 16, Sigcho-Lopez led a group of vendors and supporters from the mall to Novak Construction in a protest caravan against the company’s redevelopment plans.