UNICO DESIGNS, THE LOOK TO HOLD TWO-STORE RETIREMENT SALE -Owner Odie Anderson’s focus on Michael Jackson memorial and the church leads to sale event at River Oaks Center and Lincoln Mall, with merchandise consolidated from 6 locations.
CHICAGO (11/15/11)—After more than three decades of running a successful chain of Chicago-area clothing stores, philanthropist and entrepreneur Odie Anderson has decided to retire from retail in order to focus on his charitable work. The change in direction means a one-time opportunity for bargain-seeking shoppers at retirement sales that begin this week at Anderson’s The Look superstore in River Oaks Center in Calumet City and at his Unico Designs store at Lincoln Mall in Matteson.
“Since 1979, I’ve been balancing my work for the church and other non-profit endeavors with developing and expanding a successful group of retail fashion centers,” said Anderson, founder of Unico Designs, The Look, and Childrens Boutique. “Churchgoers and celebrities alike have enjoyed our clothing lines, which are tailored for everything from Sunday services to stepping out. But now, I feel called upon to share my success with others through my work with the church and other projects.”
His first post-retirement project will involve a more intensive role with the privately funded Michael Jackson museum and performing arts center planned for the late superstar’s hometown of Gary, Ind. Among other endeavors, Anderson is also working on a Jackson Family Traveling Museum project with the late singer’s parents, as well as a new children’s hospital.
“Before he passed on, Michael Jackson wanted to build a new hospital that would help ease the burden of confinement for ill children,” Anderson said. “My heart was moved to do whatever I could to help realize his dream. Now, I’m taking steps to turn that dream into a reality.”
Besides his charitable deeds, Anderson and his wife, Sharon, have long been known for their stylish lines of men’s and women’s clothing. “Ministers and lay people, teens and elders have praised our complete clothing lines,” recalled Anderson. The stores’ celebrity clientele have included Academy Award, Golden Globe and Grammy Award winner Jennifer Hudson, members of the Chi-Lites and former New York Knick and Miami Heat forward Anthony Mason.
The Look’s fashion lines range from Sunday best to attire for Steppin’ moves, the rapidly spreading dance style started by Chicago DJ Sam Chatman, a Look customer and friend of Anderson’s.
“Everything a Stepper needs, from head to foot, will be available at the sale,” said Anderson. “We’ve got shoes, sizes six to 18, by Mauri, Fennix, Mezlan and David Eden, available in exotic skins like Alligator, lizard, eel, ostrich and crocodile with matching belts. We also have suits, sports jackets and outwear made of Super 120 and 140 wool, leather, and 100% Loro Piana cashmere. Famous-maker suits by Steve Harvey, Magic Johnson and Zanditti are also available, along with Stetson hats.”
Anderson’s decision to refocus his energies means that shoppers who want these and other stylish apparel at heavily discounted prices will find exceptional deals at the 50,000-square-foot The Look superstore at River Oaks Center and the smaller Unico Designs store at Lincoln Mall. The River Oaks location will incorporate merchandise that had been consolidated from a pair of Unico Designs menswear stores at that mall, while the Lincoln Mall store will include inventories from The Look women’s and Childrens Boutique shops at that property.
Sharon Anderson will continue to operate her Unico Designs women’s wear boutique at River Oaks, which will not be part of the retirement sale.
During the sale, all of the retailer’s extensive collection of suits, sport coats, outerwear, slacks, shirts, shoes and accessories will be offered to the public at discounts of 50%- to 80%-off retail prices. The inventory, which ranges from churchgoing to snazzy and other dressy casual styles, has a retail value in excess of $7 million. Selected store fixtures, equipment and furniture will also be available for sale.
“Just in time for the holidays, Odie consolidated the inventory from his successful stores for this occasion,” said Stevan Buxbaum, executive vice president of Buxbaum Group, the Agoura Hills, Calif.-based firm running the retirement sale. “We recommend that shoppers come out early to choose from the widest possible selection, as inventories will not be replenished. This is the top-quality merchandise that The Look and Unico have long been known for. No ‘outside merchandise’ is being brought in for the sale.”
The Unico women’s wear concept was launched in 1979 “from the trunk of my car,” said Anderson. “We later opened retail locations and when customers asked for menswear and children's wear, we expanded with The Look and Childrens Boutique, culminating in seven stores, ranging from 4,000 to 50,000 square feet, at the two malls.”
The River Oaks and Lincoln Mall stores will be open during regular mall hours for the event. Credit cards and cash will be accepted, but all sales are final.
The company currently has approximately 20 full- and part-time personnel at the two locations.
“It has been a privilege to work with our associates at The Look and Unico, but this is a transition, not a goodbye,” said Anderson. “Many of them have already been working with me on the Michael Jackson museum and other endeavors, and I look forward to seeing them join me in future projects as we move forward with new activities.”
About Buxbaum Jewelry Advisors - Buxbaum Jewelry Advisors has assembled a team of jewelry professionals that have provided wholesale and retail jewelers with financial solutions for more than 20 years. It offers a wide range of services and can meet the needs of both profitable and financially distressed jewelry retailers and wholesalers. It is an affiliate of Agoura Hills, Calif.-based Buxbaum Group, which has built its reputation for more than 30 years as one of the leading liquidators of consumer products and appraisers of retail and wholesale inventories across North America, as well as a prominent distressed-debt advisory services investing firm.
Press Contacts: At Buxbaum Group, Stevan Buxbaum (612) 363-6517; at Parness & Associates Public Relations, Lisa Kreda or Bill Parness, (732) 290-0121.