EDC looks back, eyes plans for 2024

Keeping village’s business activity on upward trajectory drives commission’s work

Sales tax revenue in Hinsdale is up and vacant storefronts are relatively low, according to the village’s latest economic development report.

At yesterday’s quarterly economic development commission meeting, commissioners learned that last year’s third quarter sales tax receipts totaled $1.55 million, a nearly $3,000 increase from the same period in 2022. Assistant Village Manager Andrianna Peterson said the numbers continue a positive trend.

“Our sales tax is still doing very well,” Peterson said, pointing out the leading categories of car dealerships and gas stations, drugs and miscellaneous retail, and food. “We keep data on all that information to make sure that our sales tax is healthy and that we’re continuing economic development initiatives to drive business to the downtown and for people to shop local in Hinsdale.”

A retail occupancy rate report from the economic development agency Choose DuPage put Hinsdale at a 96.7 percent level. The agency suggests 90 percent is healthy.

“We’re very fortunate to have a very low vacancy rate in our downtown,” Peterson said.

She added that several currently empty spaces are slated to welcome new businesses, like Brasi’s Pizzeria opening at 34 E. Hinsdale Ave. and a pizza shop operating out of the old Dips & Dogs spot.

“They don’t stay vacant very long,” Peterson remarked.

Additionally, she reported that a restaurant is in talks to take over the former Corner Bakery site.

“We’ll see how that fleshes out,” Peterson related. “I think a lunch and dinner restaurant is what’s being proposed.”

Village officials are planning to talk with Gateway Square representatives about revitalizing that shopping center on the north side town, she said.

“There’s some very good businesses that are in that mall now, but there’s clearly also a lot of vacancies,” Peterson told commissioners.

The commission’s 2024 budget of $90,000 includes $40,000 earmarked for holiday lighting and $30,000 for promotional materials.

Reflecting on the highlights of last holiday season, commissioners expressed support for the addition of the large lighted train engine to Burlington Park. But they weren’t fans of the $5,000 price tag.

“Maybe we can find something that is very similar to this but maybe around, like, $3,000,” Commissioner Carrie Thangamani said. “The holiday time is very busy in downtown. People go out to eat a lot. You really want to continue to make that a destination, so I think it’s important to have something similar.

Peterson agreed that the concept was worth continuing.

“We like the idea of a large-scale feature,” she said. “Maybe people come and do their holiday card pictures and then maybe they go to dinner.”

Peterson said four businesses had their windows painted for the holidays as part of a village program to draw visitors downtown. The artist was provided by the village, but Peterson said some shops didn’t participate because the given motif was trains.

“I think people like the idea of window painting, but maybe were shying away a little bit from it being a certain theme,” she said.

The annual Restaurant Week is planned for April 12-20, coinciding with the beginning of the outdoor dining season. Peterson asked commissioners for ideas on generating interest and if any of the submitted tag lines caught their eye.

“I like ‘Eat Like a Local,’ ” commission Chair Jill Sunderson said. “It reminds people to come out, support.”

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean