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Complementing Northbrook’s retail landscape, which features a wealth of established shopping centers and the popular Northbrook Court, is the modern Willow Festival development. Built on land that had, as recently as half a decade ago, been mostly devoid of development, Willow Festival sprawls over a 48-acre plot of land with over 400,000 feet of space. Around that time, leasing agent Paul Sheridan at Hamilton Partners began laying out his vision of how to approach and appreciate the ideal customer for the Northbrook area. Subsequently, Willow Festival attracted major anchors such as Whole Foods, Best Buy, and DSW Shoes.

“We’re looking to provide the North Shore customers with what they want,” says Sheridan. “Obviously, Whole Foods is the top of their list as far as grocers are concerned.”

Even considerations like the material used for the architecture, namely the brick used throughout, further reveals a conscious effort toward appealing to a very specific niche. As Sheridan noted, “We’re definitely trying to cater to the more affluent customer.”

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Fortunately, the decisions made toward developing the land have already shown great success. Despite a downturn in the economy on a national level, Willow Festival continues to thrive, with nearly all of its retail space filled. “This location, the demographic, is so extreme in terms of incomes that we’re doing better than most, related Sheridan.”

In what space remains, stores like HomeGoods and restaurants such as Houlihan’s and Zapatista look to open locations in the near future at Willow Festival. The future looks bright for attracting other new businesses.

Part of that success surely derives from some of the locally owned businesses thriving at Willow Festival. For example, MoreHouse Kitchen and Bath offers bath expertise and personable service so critical when embarking on a major investment like remodeling an important part of a home. Furthermore, as Sheridan says, “Customers of Willow Festival can find almost anything they want.

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