Mount Prospect: Adult baby store must comply with license
The owner of a new Mount Prospect store that caters to adults who like to dress as babies hopes plain white screening in business' window will help pacify members of the community upset by its presence.
John-Michael Williams said he expected the public criticism, which peaked Tuesday when about 50 residents appeared before the village board to object to his Tykables store, but believes it will die down once it's clear the business won't be a disruptive element.
"The criticism doesn't come as a surprise, but it is misplaced and comes out of misunderstanding," Williams said.
Much of the outcry has centered on the colorful Lego-type bricks originally displayed in Tykables front window at 512 W. Northwest Highway, which some complained were an unwelcome attraction for children.
Williams said he and his employees acted on that concern as soon as they learned about it from village officials.
"We voluntarily covered up the display to address that issue," he said.
While the white curtains now in the window are a temporary measure, Williams said the glass will be professionally frosted to make it permanently opaque. Furthermore, the business has no intention of displaying a sign, he said.
The two-year-old company does 99 percent of its business online but wanted a location that would be convenient for its large percentage of Chicago-area customers to make pickups, and where all its employees could work in one place, Williams said.
The store's front door is kept locked, and visits are expected to be made by appointment.
Williams started the company in his home office in Mount Prospect, and its other employees previously worked from their homes as well.
Mount Prospect Village Manager Michael Cassady said he and other village officials are grateful Tykables covered up its windows and has made arrangements to make that permanent.
Though Williams said he intends to stay true to the retail/office description in Tykables' business license application, Cassady said village officials became concerned by an advertising video that seemed to go beyond that description.
For example, the video invites customers to drop by to play on adult-scale baby equipment that would be on display.
Cassady said Williams claims he was working off-script when he made that video, and that the store is not inviting people to try out its products on site. For the time being, and with no evidence to the contrary, the village is taking him at his word, Cassady said.
"We do understand that our residents are upset and wondering why we don't have code provisions that would have prohibited this use," he added.
Mount Prospect is working on some changes to its zoning code that would call for greater scrutiny of applications for such unique business uses as Tykables, Cassady said.
But Tykables itself would be grandfathered in as a permitted use as long as it sticks to the provisions of its current business classification, he said.