The owner of a gag gift shop and small performance venue in Logan Square has fallen critically ill and is seeking assistance from volunteers to help him reopen his business, he said a in Facebook post published last week.
Flabby Hoffman, owner of The Extraordinarium (2800 N. Milwaukee Ave.), wrote in a post from the business’s Facebook account that he has been hospitalized and given a grim prognosis about his chances for recovery and survival.
In light of his illness, Hoffman asked for help from volunteers to assist him in preserving and reopening his shop, which sells novelty items and collectibles such as a cat astronaut air freshener. The store also features a back room for small comedic acts and theatrical performances. Hoffman said he mainly needs help with administrative tasks such as networking and booking performing acts.
“If this really is my time, I want to make sure I leave behind a vehicle designed to create joy and empowerment to assist in the preservation of the human race,” Hoffman wrote. He added, “I promise that my goal is not selfish.”
He also stated that his illness, and the ensuing complications he’s experienced during his hospital stay, are not related to the coronavirus.
The Extraordinarium opened in February and was inspired by Uncle Fun, a longtime Lakeview shop that closed in 2014.
Hoffman announced that The Extraordinarium was closing in mid-March due to the coronavirus, or the “Plague-a-saurus Hex,” as Hoffman put it. Prior to the closure, Hoffman used the shop’s Facebook account to advertise upcoming acts as well as specials such as “a $1.98 discount to anyone that brings in John Cusack to visit the place.”
He told Block Club Chicago that he wanted his store to inspire people the way Uncle Fun inspired him to “dream big, have fun in life and embrace what you love.”
Hoffman echoed this sentiment in his recent Facebook post, writing that he wanted to keep The Extraordinarium running because, “I know that my vision can help us fight the darkness. If it dies, things shall be worse.”
Featured photo: Michael Dhar