The Miroballis have taken a long road to keep their family-owned and operated shoe store in Orland Park.
Miroballi Shoes opened first in Orland Square Mall in 1976, and stayed until 1997 when they moved within the Orland Plaza. When plans to convert an area bordered between the Metra Southwest Service tracks, LaGrange Road and 143rd Street into the Main Street Triangle moved ahead in summer 2011, forcing the businesses to relocate, the family knew they wanted to stay in Orland Park.
On Sept. 27, the family opened up their biggest location in town yet, among a new 10,000 square-foot plaza on the northwest corner of 144th Place and LaGrange Road that will house three other tenants.
“We’re ecstatic, number one because we’re still in the village,” said co-owner Tony Miroballi. “Our customers are still here. We wanted to make it as easy for them as possible to shop in the stores, and make it easy for the other tenants who will be here.”
The new store features an updated layout, combining brands they carried before and a few new ones, a lounge-area with a TV nicknamed the “man cave,” is fully lit with LED bulbs, high ceilings with exposed duct work and with rear parking keeping the east entrance along a sidewalk.
“The vendors have been good to supply us with their own display materials along with what we brought from the old location,” Miroballi said. “Each section is its own shop. It’s easier to shop the store now. You can identify brands real easily, and the styles you might like.
“We’ve gotten good response from everybody whose visited the (new) store. They’ve said how easy it is to get here, compared to all the places we’ve been. The temporary location was a little hard to get into.”
When the village took ownership of Orland Plaza in February 2011, the business moved to a shopping center off of LaGrange Road behind Houlihan’s, making it their third location in town before moving to their own building at 14360 LaGrange Rd.
“To make this transition, you just have to believe in what you’re trying to accomplish,” Miroballi said. “Just go for it. That was a move in of itself, from the mall to a freestanding location. Now a move to our own building. It’s a lot of work but it’s very rewarding. In the long term it will benefit the company, benefit the family and benefit the customers. Ultimately that’s what we’re trying to do. All of the decisions we make come back to how does it benefit the customer.”
Final deals are still being worked out, though Miroballi said two prospective tenants are close to taking openings in their plaza.
“I think within the next 30 days we’ll be fully occupied,” Miroballi said. “We’re really lucky with that. There’s been a lot of interest. I don’t think you can beat this location. It’s on the corner and people can use the windows. You couldn’t do that at our other locations. Now we have display windows.”
Aside from occupying their plaza, the family is looking at other ways to use their new space, especially the wide sidewalk in front of the east entrance.
“This store is flexible enough to do other things. If we wanted to we could do stuff outside, right here,” Miroballi said, pointing at the east entrance. “The village is also talking about turning this into a pedestrian walk way. It will be a natural thing right here. It’s really looking ahead. We’re looking for another 37 years in this area, well into my 80s.”
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