Wilmette, Community

Chantilly Lace to return to downtown Wilmette and create ‘dream space’; Hanig’s on the move too

Two longtime Wilmette businesses will make a mini migration across town in the coming months.

Current Plaza del Lago tenants Chantilly Lace and Hanig’s Footwear have leased spaces in downtown Wilmette in the 1100 block of Wilmette Avenue, between Central Avenue and Green Bay Road.

Chantilly Lace has specialized in intimate wear and bra fittings in Wilmette since 1995. Seeking more space, owner Larisa Olson moved the shop in 2017 from downtown Wilmette to Plaza del Lago. Now, Olson is excited to bring Chantilly Lace back to the Village Center and into a storefront, 1177 Wilmette Ave., she’s long admired.

“I had always dreamed about 1177 Wilmette Avenue when we had our space on Central Avenue,” she said. “I would think, ‘Gosh, I wish I could have that.’ It’s all coming full circle now. It’s pretty cool.”

Chantilly Lace’s Larissa Olson (left) and longtime employee Bella, who has worked at the shop since it debuted in 1995.

Olson said Chantilly Lace welcomed success in Plaza del Lago and was looking to expand, but she did not like her options with the ongoing changes in the shopping center — it was purchased by WS Development in 2022.

The space at 1177 became available in April 2022 following the closure of Share, a five-year-old decor and home good shop.

Olson is looking forward to building out her “dream space” and opening by May 1 with space dedicated to her three main products: lingerie, sleepwear and swimwear – the latter of which is Chantilly Lace’s fastest-growing department, she said. The new store will also allow Olson and company to increase the shop’s fitting rooms, and of course, Chantilly Lace will continue to focus on bra fitting, she said.

“We’ve done really well and … really needed a space that is reflective of our growing success,” Olson said. “A place that is beautiful and makes people want to come in and enjoy themselves. We will continue to have that wholesome vibe. We really do cater to the community.”

And soon enough, Chantilly Lace will be flanked by a familiar peer, Hanig’s Footwear, which is a 28-year tenant in Plaza del Lago.

Co-owner Peter Hanig said that his business — which has operated for 79 years and has a 48-year-old location on Michigan Avenue in Chicago — has endured renovation projects before and thought with improvements planned for the plaza, it was a good time to move.

“We thought simply that it was time to make a change,” Hanig said, adding that they were “excited about it.”

Hanig’s said he hopes that by July the business is up and running in the new space, which was most recently occupied by Shack, a spinoff of Share.

It is not yet clear if or when new occupants will move into Plaza del Lago. Representatives from WS Development have not returned The Record’s requests for information on new tenants.

Wilmette Village Manager Mike Braiman said the Village is not aware of any new businesses officially signed on to join Plaza del Lago.

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joe coughlin
Joe Coughlin

Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319

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