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Five Questions With Kerry Maiorca of Bloom Yoga

By Mike Fourcher | Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Kerry Maiorca in her studio at Bloom Yoga. Credit: Mike Fourcher.

Kerry Maiorca, founder and proprietor of Bloom Yoga, 4663 N. Rockwell St., came to Lincoln Square from Wilmette via San Francisco because she was looking for a neighborhood with a diverse mix of people. Maiorca lives a short walk away from her studio and is deeply involved in her son’s school, Waters Elementary.

“We wanted [our kids] to go to a school that was really diverse,” she told us Tuesday morning. “Racially, economically. Kids that were not exactly the same as them.”

“The way we got here was the space, the studio,” said Maiorca. “We looked everywhere. Lake View. Wicker Park. Lincoln Park. Bucktown. Ukrainian Village. All the hot places. Then we heard a bit about Lincoln Square. When we came here we were like, what is this? We walked down the block, saw the space, how it was wide open…We were just like, ‘This is amazing!’”

Bloom Yoga opened on the first floor of the new mixed-used building on Rockwell and Leland in 2004. It was part of renaissance for the 4600 N. Rockwell strip that saw a number of new businesses all opening within a few months in 2004.

1. What’s your favorite spot in the neighborhood?

Oh my gosh. That’s such a loaded question for me! How many business owners do I know in the neighborhood?

It doesn’t have to be a business.

Oh, that’s easy then. I would say Welles Park is my favorite place in the neighborhood. My son’s playing t-ball there. I love the summer concerts. It’s a vibrant little space. It’s like a retreat in the neighborhood. This neighborhood has a pretty relaxed pace. You go into Welles Park though, and you slow down even more. And I love that about it.

2. What’s the goofiest thing you’ve seen in the neighborhood?

When my son was little, we were walking down Rockwell and we saw a guy on a motorcycle and on the backseat he had a dog with goggles and a scarf. [My son] was real little and he was learning how to talk and he came home and said, “I saw dog riding motorcycle!” We saw it one more time. Nobody else but me and my son who could barely talk – I thought someone else but me has to see this so I know we didn’t imagine it – we saw him again one more time when I was driving and that was the last of it.

3. If there’s something you would change about the neighborhood what would it be?

I wish there were fewer vacancies in the storefronts. I know that it’s a tough time to be starting up new businesses, but I’d like to see more, like we have, independent businesses in the neighborhood. I would really like us to stay away from chains. The character of our neighborhood is strong because we have so many boutiquey kinds of places that are run by actual people and not just humungous corporations.

I would like to see more, even on our block, but also on Lincoln, things going in there. I think that could be really improved a lot.

A lot of other business owners say “parking meters.”

I’m not really dialed into the parking thing because I rarely have to drive. I live and work here. Almost everything I have to do is either here or on the train. So I rarely have to get in the car. So I’m totally not tuned into parking or traffic. I’m pretty spoiled.

4. What’s different since you first got started here?

I think that the eco-consciousness has really changed a lot. That’s a sign of the times. I think that people are really into doing things that are more sustainable. Both through their businesses and as consumers. I think that’s really nice. The Lincoln Square Community Garden that just opened up, that ties into that really well.

I just see people making decisions and moving from things that are more throw away, and I see that all around. People bringing their own bags to the grocery store, people bringing their own mugs to Beans and Bagels, people bringing their own water bottles. I think that’s just sort of changing.

5. Mayfest or Ribfest?

It’s a tough one, because Mayfest with kids can be insanity. Ribfest was really fun last year. My kids got bar-b-que sauce everywhere. So I’ll say Ribfest.

I do love Lincoln Square fests, but Mayfest is overwhelming with kids. And I don’t put back a bunch of beers so… Ribfest had great music last year. I saw that marching band, Mucca Pazza.

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  • http://twitter.com/cj1171 Chris Jansen

    I heartily agree that we need less vacant storefronts. Lawrence between western and the river has SO much retail space available, just imagine if shops and restaurants filled it in!

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  • jkarczek

    It’s just too bad there are so many hideous, run down strip malls between Western (Ashland actually…) and the river and that as a result, most of the stretch doesn’t feel like it’s on a human, walkable scale. It feels like an old suburban car oriented drag strip, which is exactly what it is,minus the suburban part. I wouldn’t want to locate a business there, so I totally understand why entrepreneurs are hesitant. I can only think of a handful of businesses on that stretch that are both successful and not reliant on customers who drive.

  • http://twitter.com/cj1171 Chris Jansen

    There are some strip malls but there are a fair number of 2-3 story buildings with storefronts. Walking down there the other day I noticed some buildings have even remodeled their storefronts but still can’t seem to get anyone in them (like the big unit at the corner of Rockwell & Lawrence).

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  • jkarczek

    Chris, it’s true that there are stretches of Lawrence that feature more human scale structures, but to me at least, the strip malls, drive-in businesses and institutional buildings negate the structures that feel more friendly to pedestrian traffic. This is why I avoid walking on Lawrence, Western and most of Foster. It isn’t comfortable to walk down those streets because, besides the fast and heavy traffic, it’s necessary for pedestrians to constantly watch for cars turning into or out of parking lots. This is a structural issue that no amount of streetscaping or beautification will fix. At this point, without wholesale redevelopment, which would cost more than it would yield in benefits, Lawrence is what it is. It’s good for certain kinds of businesses, like Wendy’s, Burger King, HarvesTime, Sears, and 7-11, and institutions like Social Security and the USPS, all of which have their place, but bad for small shops and boutiques that rely on foot traffic.

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