Owner sells New Prospects, will reopen as Uptown Girlz
Amy DeGrazio, the owner of New Prospects, a popular Park Ridge boutique,which is closing in early February on Saturday, January 5, 2012 in Park Ridge. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 19, 2013 11:38AM
PARK RIDGE — Amy DeGrazio is looking forward to something she hasn’t experienced in over 20 years: work-free weekends.
The Uptown Park Ridge business owner is selling her successful boutique, New Prospects, and closing up shop in early February.
“It’s just time for me not to work seven days a week anymore,” DeGrazio said, noting that she will continue to focus on her wholesale accessory company, New Prospects Wholesale, which includes a line of jewelry, belts, scarves and handbags currently sold at New Prospects.
But the store, located at 110 S. Prospect Ave. since late 2001, won’t remain empty for long. New owner Alison Pappone plans to reopen March 1 under the name Uptown Girlz of Park Ridge. Pappone promises that customers will see many of the same women’s apparel labels that New Prospects already carries, including DeGrazio’s accessory line.
“I’ve bought clothes from every vendor [Amy] has used so far. We’re keeping the kids toys and gifts in the basement and carrying Amy’s jewelry, as well as others’ jewelry,” Pappone said. “Other than a new name and sign, I think when people walk in there they will say, ‘Oh, it’s the same place.’”
Current employees are also expected to remain with the store once it reopens.
DeGrazio, of Park Ridge, joined the city’s retail scene 27 years ago at the age of 15, working for a store that later became known as Main Street Shoes. She bought the company 18 years ago and when Moheiser’s, a long-time family-owned department store on Prospect Avenue, closed in 2001, DeGrazio moved in, renamed her shop New Prospects, and expanded her selection of clothing.
DeGrazio, 42, said she will still be involved with New Prospects if needed, but is looking forward to devoting more time to her wholesale business and her family.
“I loved it,” she said of working in Park Ridge retail for so many years. “It’s been very good to me and the town has been very good to me.”
DeGrazio expects she will miss her customers and staff the most.
“My best memory was obviously getting to know every family in this town on a nice level,” she shared. “Many of these people are my friends and I never felt like I was going to work. It’s wasn’t work — it was fun.”
Pappone, who is currently employed in the commercial insurance industry, became familiar with New Prospects as an occasional customer and is friends with the store’s manager.
“I had expressed an interest in the store,” she said. “[Amy and I] got together and that’s pretty much how it happened — I said I would like to take over when she was ready.
“I always wanted to run something on my own,” Pappone continued. “I’ve worked in corporate America for 30 years and I’m so done.”
DeGrazio expects New Prospects will close during the first weekend in February. A liquidation sale is currently taking place with clothing 50 to 80 percent off.