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Little People’s Country Sets Up Shop in Former 7-Eleven Storefront

Wondered about what’s going on at the old convenience store? It’s the child-care center next door moving their second location adjacent to their first.

When a construction company strips a building or location completely bare, the resulting four white walls sometimes is referred to as a “vanilla box.” At the former 7-Eleven at the corner of Hillgrove and Ashland in La Grange, where construction has been ongoing for a few weeks now, this has apparently caused a bit of confusion.

As Cindy Perkins recalls it: “As we were working outside, getting the façade ready, people would look by, look at the building permit and say, ‘oh, The Vanilla Box, another restaurant is coming!’”

Not so much. (Although Perkins now jokes that there really should be a Vanilla Box restaurant somewhere.)

Perkins is the director of the child-care service Little People’s Country, which up until now has had its services split on opposite sides of Catherine Avenue. No longer, as they are vacating their western location and moving its studio, pre-kindergarten and kindergarten into the former convenience store.

“It’s about the continuity of the program being all in one facility,” Perkins said. “It’s important from my continuity point of view, that we all be together in one building.”

Additionally, it may offer a future opportunity for Little People’s to expand into part of the current Epco Paint, which Perkins said is interested in reducing its size. The new space might then let the center finally expand its high-demand infant- and toddler-care services.

“Our only limitation is space and ideas,” declared Perkins.

The new 3,000-sq. ft. expansion (slightly larger than the Catherine location) will house the school’s touted studio, which offers space for art, dance and music classes, along with its services for kids 4-5. Its infant and toddler care will remain in the existing 6,400-sq. ft. space.

The center had explored moving its services completely to allow for a much greater expansion—perhaps into the former Borders—but met resistance against placing a non-retail, non-restaurant business in such prominent locations.

The location on Catherine Avenue that they are vacating is now open to become a store itself, or perhaps medical offices.

Perkins expects the new combined 9,400-sq. ft. location to be fully operational by the first of January, 2013.

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