More trash than usual outside its Walnut Street offices? That's cuz Quaker City Mercantile (formerly known as Gyro Worldwide) (and its gallery/T-shirt offshoot Sailor Jerry) is moving into the 13th Street porn emporium building come June.
"Smokers Always Welcome"
When a new business opens on Milwaukee Avenue between North and Division, most jaded Wicker Park hipsters respond with an indifferent shrug. The vacant space that once housed Soul Kitchen becomes Francesca's Forno. An American Apparel appears out of nowhere with an Urban Outfitters quick on its heels. It's an endlessly shifting landscape that's always oddly familiar in its would-be quirky trendiness, but after a certain point the permutations blend together and it all becomes a blur of restaurants, bars and boutiques. Maybe that's why nobody batted an eye when Marshall McGearty's Tobacco Lounge opened. Not in that sense that it went unnoticed - there was a gala opening in January, and the place is raking in dough in light of the recent Chicago smoking ban - but more in the sense that not too many people seem to be aware that it's owned and operated by tobacco giant RJ Reynolds.
Reading Sailor Jerry's five-point corporate mission statement will give you a pretty good feel for the brand. The first point: "Avoid becoming Von Dutch at all costs!" The second: "keep our clothing off over-exposed celebrities!"
The edgy offshoot of buzz-making Philadelphia based ad agency Quaker City Mercantile (formerly known as Gyro Worldwide) sells clothes and other products adorned with the gritty, groundbreaking tattoo artwork of the legendary Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins, who died in 1973.
Quaker City Mercantile (formerly known as Gyro Worldwide) continues to stretch the boundaries of traditional advertising.
The agency already has a retail store (Sailor Jerry), hard liquors (under brand names Sailor Jerry and Hendricks), a line of apparel (Sailor Jerry and G-Mart) and a feature film ("Bikini Bandits")
The customers look like they're in a bar.
But technically speaking, it's not.
The sign hanging out front of this newcomer to Chicago reads "Smokers Welcome" and it's no joke: smokers are free to light up and puff away, despite being in a city which, like many others nowadays, has strict anti-smoking laws covering most public places.
Inside this storefront, not far from downtown, there is a wet bar and a coffee bar, but for some - that may not be the main event.
"Luxury Cigarettes Sold Only in One Plush Lounge"
PHILADELPHIA _ A couple of years ago, officials at R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. realized they were missing a big boat.
Other companies that sold indulgences _ makers of coffee, wine, beer, chocolates, pastries _ had figured out how to induce customers to pay a lot more for high-end products.