The Cubs invited me to a media preview of their 8,400-square foot, two-story Cubs Store that anchors the first floor of the plaza building adjacent to Wrigley Field on Friday.
It was the first peek inside the Cubs’ new office building, which already has a Starbucks on the west side and will host restaurants and bars as well as team offices and this store, which opens to the public at 5 a.m. Monday.
It’s really, really impressive. There is, of course, a huge selection of Cubs merchandise, both ordinary garb and World Series championship stuff, including the gold-numbered and lettered jerseys and caps that the team will wear April 10 and 12. Just about anything you can think of that could have “2016 World Series Champions Chicago Cubs” on it is there.
Prices range from reasonable to “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.”
But also on display are some Cubs awards, from Gold Gloves to Cy Youngs. There’s also a section where you can buy authenticated game-used autographed items, from jerseys to bats to baseballs, and nearby is an area where you can customize your own Cubs jersey.
A huge monitor wall was showing Game 7 of the World Series (photo 24), and I have to believe that’ll be a popular video selection in the store, maybe even all season.
Photos 28, 29 and 30 show a cool thing you can do. Off to the left of photo 28 (not shown) is a green screen. You stand in front of the screen and choose one of the backgrounds in photo 29 or 30 to have your photo taken and emailed to you. There’s no charge for this, although you have to agree to get emails from Hickory Street Capital in order to do this.
On game days the store is open to everyone, not just game ticket holders. The area limited to ticket holders is south of where you see the planters in photo 32. You can get a better idea of the sweep of the plaza from photo 31, which I took from the second level of the store. The store does have an elevator to reach that second level for those who are mobility-impaired.
Regular hours of the store are shown in photo 34 -- 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. It’ll also stay open one hour after the end of all home night games.
The Cubs outdid themselves. Even if you don’t want to buy any merchandise, you should take some time and check out the store to see the various displays, many of which are set on wood fixtures made of reclaimed ash trees from Chicago neighborhoods and one of which has a custom Ernie Banks painting from local artist Bonnie Lecat (photo 13).