Fuji Shioura is plainspoken. He isn’t offensive in the least, and he tells the truth as he sees it. In both recent candidate forums, Fuji said, quite directly, that a return to resident shopping on Devon is a must, and not only because the community is demanding it. Fuji said, quite simply and eloquently, that Devon’s real competition for customers will come from the new Mall of India, scheduled to open in Schaumburg in the Spring.
An entire mall devoted to traditional Indian clothing, food, arts and crafts, and cultural events, the Mall of India is expected to attract Indo-Americans from Chicago’s suburbs as well as the entire Midwest. It is expected to be a major tourist attraction, a symbol of the growing wealth and influence of Indo-Americans.
And it will lure away those customers who now come to Devon for dal and saris and a taste of home. Shabby little Devon will all but collapse once the beautiful new Mall of India opens.
That’s why the merchants are spending like mad to get Shajan Kuriakose elected. They need economic control of the ward, although even they couldn’t tell you why. Once the mall opens Devon is toast. Shajan told an Indian newspaper in a recent interview that his business plan for the ward includes parades, festivals, and events designed to lure tourists. That’s not what he tells non-Indian residents, but never mind.
The merchants think business will boom if the street becomes a three-ring circus. But the tourists and the rest of their customers will be in Schaumburg.
The party’s over on Devon.