Plus-Size Store Sues After Suburb Denies It Space
10:57 a.m. CDT July 5, 2006
CHICAGO - The Village of Oak Park was recently voted the fifth "sexiest suburb" in the country by a national real-estate group, but the town's apparent push to keep its image may have gotten it sued.
Lane Bryant, a national chain clothing store specializing in plus sizes, is suing the western Chicago suburb after the store was denied space in a new development, NBC5's Amy Jacobson reported.
"It's a little ridiculous. If it's good enough for Oakbrook (Mall), it's good enough for Oak Park," one Lane Bryant customer said. "Especially on the Fourth of July weekend, you think in a freedom-filled country, you can sell your product wherever you want."
The Chicago Sun-Times quoted Oak Park deputy village manager M. Ray Wiggins as saying in a letter that Lane Bryant doesn't fit the "kind and quality" of shop desired for the building. "We want a more broad-based retailer benefiting of the village, rather than a niche market," the letter said.
The village used to own the property, which includes condos, a health club and retail space. The community leaders have final say in which retail tenants will be allowed to set up shop.
The building's developer said he was never given an explanation why Lane Bryant wasn't welcomed at the space.
"I don't see any reason not to let a retail store in the neighborhood," a local resident said. "It seems like they're discriminating."
The village president told the Sun-Times that Oak Park wants a Lane Bryant, just in a different location.
But a Lane Bryant spokeswoman said she cannot remember the store ever being denied retail space, according to the newspaper.
The lawsuit seeks to force the village to allow the store to open, and it asks for $2.4 million to cover the developer's losses.
I'm so ticked off by this mess. It seems to me that it is not a big misunderstanding as the town wants to assert. I think that they are backtracking now that they have been sued and it all leaked out to the press. I think I would be mad about this even if I weren't one of the customers of Lane Bryant (aka fat!). The world is not a size 2. I'm so sick of discrimination and judgement of being large. It isn't like we don't try to lose weight or are blissfully unaware of our size. Most larger people I know (women especially) are always trying to lose weight. They go from one diet to another.
BUT, even though we try to lose weight we still need to dress ourselves in the meantime, and Lane Bryant has been an innovator in making stylist plus size clothes. The options have been increasing but the prejudice still remains. Sometimes I hate the looks that I get at the gym "Ugh can you believe her, I'd rather die than be fat." HELLO! I'm at the gym trying to lose the weight, jackass. There is so much extra crap that we have to deal with. I went to Target a couple of months ago because I needed some new workout wear and can't afford to get specialty stuff. Target didn't care plus size workout wear (hello, we need it most?!). Neither did Scheel's or Dick's Sporting. Neither did Marshall Fields. Guess where I found something...Lane Bryant.
Grrr. It makes me so mad. I know the health concerns about being fat, I know that I look better smaller, and I know that being thin makes life easier, but this is who I am now! My efforts to change my weight do not diminish who I am, my true self.
I hope that Oak Park does build a Lane Bryant, and I hope it thrives. Your weight does not equal your worth.