Tiffany Paige and Mike Biersma of Modern Cooperative | Faces of 53rd Street (sponsored advertising) | Chicago Reader

Tiffany Paige and Mike Biersma of Modern Cooperative 

Faces of 53rd Street

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It’s one thing for a store owner to open a location in a new Chicago neighborhood, but it’s quite another to become so charmed with the area that you actually move there yourself. For Tiffany Paige and Mike Biersma, co-owners of the award-winning boutique Modern Cooperative, “where vintage modern meets handmade,” that’s exactly the seductive pull Hyde Park had on them, the community they’re now proud to call home.

Originally Pilsen residents, the couple opened the Modern Cooperative Hyde Park location in November 2015. Right from the start, the store became a shopping destination on 53rd Street with its curated combination of mid-century modern and vintage Danish furniture, modern Scandinavian-inspired home décor accessories, and unique pieces from over 90 local artists, predominantly from the Chicago area.

Modern Cooperative has been attracting design-savvy Chicago locals as well as destination shoppers since Tiffany and Mike opened the store’s first location in Pilsen in 2012. It became one of city’s largest vintage modern boutiques with an expansion to Thalia Hall in 2013, collecting honors from TimeOut Chicago, the Chicago Reader, and Chicago magazine and mentions in The New York Times, Travel + Leisure, The Boston Globe, Chicagoist, Chicago Social, and more.

The store’s new and vintage offerings are a nice complement, because as Tiffany explains, “... mid-century modern furniture came out of a time when resources were short after a war and the local hand-made movement really caught on and got much stronger after the recession and people really had to look inside themselves and become more resourceful. So both movements, to me, make a lot of sense working together.”

Even before the store opened, when they were spending long days moving inventory and setting up displays, Tiffany and Mike were struck by the friendliness and sense of community in Hyde Park. They became regulars at some of the local businesses for after work dinner and drinks, like A10 Hyde Park and Pizza Capri, and wondered what it might be like to live in the neighborhood.

They made the move to Hyde Park in June 2016, and now live just two blocks away from their store. Tiffany says, “Everything you need is right here – you can run all your errands, you’re close to the lake, and people speak to each other and say hi on the street. It’s all super friendly and down to earth – like a small town in the big city – and I’ve made lots of friends in the last two years that I see on a regular basis.”

Modern Cooperative manager Megan Fox, a former resident of Bridgeport, decided to move to Hyde Park in the summer of 2017. She had never been to the neighborhood before the store opened, but now lives just one block away. No one at the store seems to be immune to the area’s charms. Even part-time employee Diana Arce has recently moved to nearby South Shore.

Some of Modern Cooperative’s most unique finds come from local estate sales, and Tiffany loves the story of buying an original Danish teak dining room table and chairs from the estate of a retired Hyde Park professor, restoring it for the store, and then later selling it to a young family from the neighborhood. The dining set may have had a long history, but it didn’t have a long journey – it was originally bought in the 1970s on the same 53rd Street block as Modern Cooperative from the former Scandinavian design store, Scan Furniture. And just like Tiffany and Mike Biersma, it’s staying in the neighborhood.

1500 E. 53rd Street
872.244.7477
moderncooperative.com

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