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Hyde Park Boutique Bridges Old with New

handbags Stamp’Lays, a store/salon owned by Kimberly Stampley, sits nuzzled in the middle of a block on the Southeast Side of Hyde Park.

Her shop offers the latest fashion trends and also has a hair salon in back so customers can get their “going out” hair done.

Stampley, who has been running the salon for 18 years, is an entrepreneur, image consultant and cosmologist. She started her business in Hyde Park because she wanted to serve a diverse community.

“It’s a gift from God, a gift from creation,” she said.

“I played with dolls from the age of 6 to about 14, learning how to put things together from my grandmother giving me scraps to make quilts.”

Nearly two decades after starting out, Stampley has become a symbol of entrepreneurship on Hyde Park’s 53rd street business strip. She also represents how old school businesses are fitting in with new businesses that have gone up, like the new Hyatt Place Chicago and Akira store.

Stampley’s key to longtime success in Hyde Park is her love for people and her appreciation of Hyde Park diversity.

“It’s not just for the benefit of them purchasing items from me or getting their hair done,” she said. “I serve people on another level, even the homeless.”

Stampley has worked hard to make her storefront attractive, changing it every week to draw in customers.

She has not had to advertise, resting instead on the quality of her services; her store opening drew a positive review in the Hyde Park Herald, prompting a lot of people to visit the business for the first time.

Being a small mom and pop operation has its advantages, she said, allowing her to establish long-time ties with loyal customers.

But she is quick to giveclothes1 credit to the other small Hyde Park businesses that laid the foundation for her success.

“Sometimes when the big household name comes along, you can get swept under the rug and the light doesn’t shine or isn’t as bright,” she said. “But if you still have a position and you have a rapport with your clients, you’re going to be fine.”

She added, however, that more should be done to support small businesses.

Stampley said the city’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) funds should be offered to more minority women and added if she had access to TIF money, she might have been able to launch a second store in Lincoln Park.

Stampley noted one of her competitors, Akira, which is a national chain with multiple Chicago locations received TIF funds; Stampley said those funds should go to minority business owners rather than the big chains.

But Stampley does see the benefit are bigger-box stores coming into the area.

She pointed to the addition of a Whole Foods store near her store, a Michaels Arts & Crafts store and a new high-rise apartment building called City View.

“Change is good; I’m receptive to it,” she said. “It does bring some walk-ins, but more needs to be done on this end of 53rd Street, not just in the downtown area.”

But while the introduction of more businesses brings some competition, Stamp’Lays still appeals to the locals.

Sharon Williams, a long time Hyde Park resident and a regular customer of Stamp’Lays, said she still gives her business and enjoys the store for the “unique finds” as well as Stampley’s “thoughtful, engaging, and fun customer service.”

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