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Sol Café Closes after Ten Years on Howard

As reported in Block Club Chicago, Sol Café is closing after ten years of operations at 1615 W. Howard Street. The article cites the lingering fallout from the pandemic as well as recent increases in crime and violence along the Howard Street corridor.

Howard Street has long struggled against the perception, both real and imagined, that it had a problem with crime and safety. To the casual observer, these problems appear to have grown worse in recent months and years. While some of these problems can be attributed to the pandemic, there appear to be other factors driving this trend on Howard Street that is not being felt, at lease to the same degree, along other neighborhood retail corridors. The perception that there is more loitering and an increase in both petty and serious crimes is backed up by statistics.

Like many businesses along the Howard Street corridor, Sol Café suffered from declining foot traffic as many customers curtailed their visits to the business due to concerns for their own personal safety. Even employees were reportedly becoming worried about their own safety as violent incidents continued to occur just outside their door. As much as we will all regret the closing of this popular café, it is the possibility that this is just a harbinger of a larger business exodus that is the larger concern. Without some effort to reduce this rise in criminal activity, there does not seem to be much hope that the street can attract new businesses, let alone retain the ones that are already there.




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