3270 N. Clark


After five years of running their own Web development and marketing agency, dWebz, Jason Uzarraga says he and his wife, Jessica, felt it was time to expand their business. “We wanted to take all these things that we love–toys, sneakers, design–and combine them in a way that was really complementary.” So back in October, along with business partner Brian Nevado, they started knocking around ideas for a boutique catering to toy collectors and sneakerheads. Originally they’d thought about opening something easy and cheap, like a mall kiosk, but after talking to potential vendors decided to go the brick-and-mortar route. “We’d basically be handling art pieces,” Jason says. “Selling them in a mall is kinda degrading.” They looked at locations in the South Loop and Wicker Park but eventually settled on a storefront in Lakeview with enough space to house offices for dWebz in the back. In early March they opened for business as A.Okay Official. The walls of the shop are lined with paintings, including an oil-on-wood Chewbacca ($280) and oil-on-canvas tributes to rappers Nas ($324) and ?uestlove ($800), all three by local artist Deal. Sleek glass display cases house miniature toys by Kidrobot and Red Magic, which sell for as little as $3, and larger vinyl and plastic pieces by Medicom and Dalek, which can cost as much as $200. The sneaker selection includes designs from JB Classics, Cr8tive Recreation, Greedy Genius, and PF Flyers; prices start at $60 for a pair of camo-print Reeboks and top out at $1,650 for a limited edition pair of black patent leather PlayStation Air Force Ones. The store celebrates its official grand opening with a live music event headlined by Vinroc at Subterranean, 2011 W. North, on Thursday, May 17 at 9 PM. The party continues at the store on Saturday, May 19, during regular business hours. See aokayofficial.com for more info.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Audrey Cho.