A string of storefronts on Jefferson Avenue in the heart of downtown Naperville is experiencing a transformation with the recent opening of two shops and construction of new space for a third.
Apricot Lane, Pure Barre and Sephora will join the downtown shopping scene by the time the transformation is complete, which could be as soon as May, Main Place property owner Steve Rubin said.
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The shops will add a new women's clothing boutique, a fitness studio and a cosmetics store to a retail mix Rubin says has reached the "critical mass" necessary to become a destination for shoppers.
Sephora, however, is awaiting construction of a 5,000-square-foot space just east of Apricot Lane. The store will extend back further south from Jefferson than other shops to the west. The extended building will cut into a privately owned parking lot, which will be reconfigured as some spaces will be removed, city spokeswoman Allison Albrecht said.
Originally scheduled to be complete by March 1, the Sephora building's construction has been delayed because of harsh winter weather, but Rubin said contractors hope to have it finished by May. The building will have a second floor for an office user to move in above the cosmetics retailer.
Construction is affecting walkability outside Apricot Lane, a store that offers what manager and co-owner Abbie Miller calls "trendy, one-of-a-kind" fashion items and focuses on a demographic that often includes young moms.
But Miller said customers who enter the store are excited about the designs they see.
"People say 'It's beautiful, it's exactly what Naperville needed. Your stuff is so different,'" Miller said. "I think once Sephora is open we will get a lot of traffic."
Construction is not having as direct of an effect on Pure Barre, a fitness studio that also sells exercise apparel and accessories at the southeast corner of Jefferson and Webster Street, studio manager Mary Bertke said.
In its third week in business, Pure Barre is offering four one-hour classes each day that provide a high-intensity workout with low impact on the joints.
"We've been well-received despite the never-ending winter," Bertke said. "We have a nice base of clients already."
The studio was allowed to open on the first floor despite a zoning requirement that usually prohibits "service uses" such as fitness facilities on the ground level in the downtown.
City council members were swayed by the women's clothing lines Pure Barre sells and displays in its windows, which include Splits59, Beyond Yoga and Alo yoga clothing.