Office Depot to close in November | News

The Office Depot located in the Hyde Park Shopping Center, 5420 S. Lake Park Ave., will close its doors in November. 

“We’ll wind down operations at this location, and it would just be simply for anyone picking up remaining fixtures and stuff like that, so it won’t be open to the public after that date,” said interim manager Stephen S., a 15-year Office Depot employee. The store’s final day in business will be Saturday, Nov. 11.

“It’s been here for quite a while, so there’s a strong tie for a lot of customers in the area,” he said. “The news is obviously kind of a shock to everyone … Hyde Park customers (say the area) is really underserved.” 

The retail chain sells everything from basic office supplies to furniture and offers printing, copying, faxing, shredding and shipping services. It also has an in-store IT help desk.   

Signs went up in and around the store Thursday, announcing the closure. 

A spokesperson for the company said that the closure of the Hyde Park location is part of the company’s nationwide plan to “optimize its retail footprint,” shifting focus away from its physical stores to online sales, IT services and business-to-business solutions.  

In 2020, the retail chain announced its plans to close or consolidate a number of stores and to cut 13,100 jobs by the end of 2023. From the beginning of 2020 to January 2023, 327 locations nationwide were shuttered, per company reports. 

As the store begins to close, the interim manager said staff are seeing a flood of customers buying up everything from tech gadgets to ink and planners.” 

“The standard stuff that we take for granted, we’re seeing a lot of people buying to stock up, just to avoid additional trips,” he said. 

Office Depot

Arnell Brady laments the pending closure of Office Depot outside the store, 5420 S. Lake Park Ave., on Monday morning, Sept. 18, 2023.

One such customer picking up final items on Monday morning was Arnell Brady, the owner of Brady Speech-Language Pathology, 5228 S. Blackstone Ave. 

“This is really hurting us because it’s so easy for us to run over and get some small supplies, paper and folders and pens,” he said. “So we’re really going to miss it.” He noted that his business has also made larger purchases over the years, such as printers and laptops.

Marguerite Jenkins, a patron of 24 years, was also browsing the aisles on Monday after seeing the signs for the store’s closure over the weekend. “I was looking for a printer cartridge before they leave, but I guess I’m going to have to go online to find it,” she said, before sitting down in an office chair to test it out.

“I’m sorry they’re leaving,” Jenkins lamented. 

The big-box store opened in 1998 as part of the shopping center’s expansion. The shopping center is a development owned by the University of Chicago, which leases out space.

Office Depot inside

Signs that read “store closing” and “nothing held back!” deck the aisles of Hyde Park’s liquidating Office Depot, 5420 S. Lake Park Ave., on Monday, Sept. 18, 2023.

Store hours will remain the same, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., through the closing. The store is currently offering various discounts of up to 40% off merchandise in-store, with steeper markdowns to be offered nearer to the closing date, according to the interim manager. 

A spokesperson for Office Depot did not answer a Herald question about whether employees will be relocated or laid off. According to the interim manager, the store has more than a dozen employees, the longest of whom has been at the store for seven years; most of the other employees have been there for about a year. 

“UChicago Commercial Real Estate is actively working to secure a new tenant for the space through its broker CBRE,” said Jeremy Manier, the U. of C.’s associate vice president of communications and public affairs. He told the Herald that Office Depot did not cite rent as a factor in its decision to close, and that the university reached out for discussions with the company but the offer was declined.  

Another storefront in the shopping center, a section of the former Treasure Island storefront, is also currently vacant and for sale through CBRE.  

With this store’s closing, there will be only one other Office Depot location in Chicago, in Bucktown. The nearest big-box office supply store is Staples, 1130 S. Canal St., in South Loop.

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