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Be Romantic: Celebrate Valentine’s Day With Placemaking

Image: Latent Design

There’s nothing more romantic than supporting the entrepreneurial spirit of hardworking Chicagoans, plus the creative reuse of old shipping containers. Whether or not you agree with that statement, you’ve got to admit that the Boombox business incubator and placemaking project is a clever idea, and it happens to be one that you can encourage through Valentine’s Day purchases.

This initiative is part of the Activate! Placemaking program (not to be confused with the Chicago Loop Alliance’s monthly Activate alley party series). The Chicago Department of Transportation has contracted the firm Latent Design to energize under-performing public plazas

From February 1-15, Boomboxes -- prefabricated micro-retail kiosk fashioned from shipping containers – will be set up in public spaces in Englewood and Wicker Park, with vendors selling flowers and chocolates.

The site of Boombox Englewood. Image: Google Streetview
The site of Boombox Englewood. Image: Google Streetview
The site of Boombox Englewood. Image: Google Streetview

Boombox Englewood is located in a small, tree-filled plaza at 833 W. 63rd Street, across the street from the neighborhood’s new Whole Foods. A'vents by August is selling floral designs and arrangements.

Boombox Wicker Park, is located in a narrow, under-used plaza next to Tocco Italian restaurant at 1262 N. Milwaukee. Mindful Indulgences (great name) will offer organic vegan chocolate truffles in several unusual flavors.

“A business can open today from a kitchen table,” reads Latent’s Boombox web page. “When a startup begins to outgrow its initial home base, it may not be possible to transition into a larger permanent facility immediately. Storefronts are highly relevant as cities seek to strengthen their walkability, but overhead costs are on the rise. Boombox combines the successful features of popup shops and festival booths. It provides innovative transitional retail spaces at affordable prices.”

So avoid the doghouse this Valentine’s Day and buy your sweetie something nice from one these vendors, and help activate humdrum public spaces.

Check out the Boombox page for more info on the program.

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