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Former salesman on Michigan Avenue battled construction accidents, COVID-19 pandemic to boost his vintage men’s suit business at Humboldt Park – Chicago Tribune

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The unexpected twin, 52-year-old Richard Biazi, has always fought for his identity. He often jokes that he got the “yolk” of an egg when asked if he is his brother’s twin.

After working for more than a decade, creating his brand as a top consultant at retail stores such as Neiman-Marcus and Bloomingdale’s, Biazi was tired of grueling sales expectations and decided to open Richard’s Fabulous Finds store, which specializes in vintage men’s suits. in a 100-year-old building.

His latest revival from chic to second-hand led to Blazy switching to second-hand clothing after making a career out of selling Ralph Lauren, Don Quran and other leading designers. He struggled to revive his other talent by bringing a modern twist to vintage costumes.

“After Bloomingdale raised more than $ 40,000 at one of the pre-sales events, I got tired of living off coupon sales and deals,” Biazi said. “I think I’m proving that you don’t have to give away the store to make money.”

He found a hole in the retail market and started filling it, he said.

“If you’re starting something, you have to invest in it,” Biosi said. “You have to find what is not offered.”

And made – vintage costumes.

Beginning, Bessie often attended real estate sales and collected things from people he had known for years. He not only looked for costumes – he also looked after other beautiful items.

“Things should be comfortable and in good condition. There is no smell of the dead in my shop, ”he smiled, noting that everything was professionally cleaned before being put on the shelf.

“I show my clients that vintage clothes have value,” he said.

His business, 2545 W. North Ave., has been in the Humboldt Park area for eight years. He recently underwent bowel rehabilitation.

And, like other Chicago business owners, Biazi had to quickly figure out how to survive the pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic. He used the courtyard in his business, which overlooks the horizon of the city center, renting it out for micro-weddings, birthdays and children’s parties.

Despite the fact that it seemed that everything was going well financially, according to Blazy, there were several problems in the building. After the 78th water leak occurred in his store, Buzzie said he decided to leave the party out of pity he had arranged for himself.

“I said to myself, ‘You have to make it,'” he said, recounting piles of frustration with previous owners of the building where his business is located.

While they were trying to make repairs to solve the problem, “they put a band-aid on everything,” he said. As soon as the floor began to sink, it prompted Blasi to seek funding to help restore the structure he loved.

He quickly jumped into the action, finding help in SBIF grant, a small business improvement fund set up to help small business owners. At least $ 100,000 has been transferred to the new owner of the building, making bowel rehabilitation possible, Biosi said.

The Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF) provides funding for continuous improvement and renovation of buildings throughout the city. Offered urban Department of Planning and Development (DPD) Tenants and owners of industrial and commercial real estate SBIF grants are funded by income from financing tax increases in certain TIF areas throughout the city.

According to the SBIF website, program participants can receive grants to cover 30% to 90% of the renovation cost, with a maximum grant of $ 150,000 for commercial real estate and $ 250,000 for industrial real estate. A benefit that is managed SomerCor on behalf of the city, should not be repaid.

“Whether you’re an entrepreneur who realizes your dreams in a startup, or an employer who wants to revitalize your business for a long time, the SBIF program can be the key to your future,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement on the city’s website. .

According to the site, SBIF has provided $ 105 million to more than 1,400 small businesses across Chicago since its inception in 1999.

Before the grant was approved for “Richard’s Fabulous Finds,” Biazi did his homework on the property. According to him, the foundation of the building was repaired, the old water heater was replaced, and construction work was carried out.

He also used this time to become a close member of the community where he does business and lives. During his research, he discovered in his neighborhood a property where an Italian restaurant once operated, and another property where the Three Stooges fruit stall operated, he said. A resident of Humboldt Park gave Blazy an old martini shaker found on the site of Italian restaurants.

In his life, the business owner Byazi has not forgotten what he learned during his stay on the Wonderful Mile. He takes ideas on building a strong clientele and knows how to be truthful to help find the best shape and style to compliment a client, he said.

His beliefs also gave him the opportunity to be involved on the big screen. Biasi presented wardrobe items for the TV shows “Country of Lovecraft” and “Fargo”.

The incredible findings of Richard, who received a rating of 5.0 on Yelp, is an individual show where he spends time looking for the perfect suit for men.

“If you wear vintage, you get one of a kind,” he said.

The costumes cost about $ 125 for items from the 70s, 80s and 90s. Old suits of the 30s, 40s, 50s and early 60s can cost from $ 250 to $ 600. Most ties cost from $ 15 to $ 25, except in the case of designer or unrepresented items (unused and in the original packaging).

Sometimes Buzzie finds it hard to part with a costume he calls “remorse of the salesman”.

“If I love it, I know someone else will like it and he needs to live again.”

Editor’s note: The reporter knew this topic on labor relations during his previous work in retail.

dawilliams@chicagotribune.com

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