Although Ben Joravsky did a good job of describing the wasteland that is supposed to become Gateway Mall ("Neighborhood News," October 9) there are a few things that weren't quite right in his article. So I'd like to set the record straight.
Pivot Point International, Inc. is more than just a "hairdressing school." We are a hair and beauty education company that has a network of 2,000 member schools in 42 countries and has an extensive publishing division that produces educational material for the industry on a worldwide basis. Our headquarters and original campus happen to be at the corner of Howard and Clark streets in Rogers Park.
My Place For? is not "the only flourishing business in the area," as Pivot Point is still engaged in all of its business activities and has been enjoying increasing sales. We currently employ 72 people at this location (62 percent from Chicago, 13 percent from Rogers Park) at living-wage jobs. We are now training 170 students at the Rogers Park campus (70 percent African-American, 16 percent Caucasian, 12 percent Hispanic, 2 percent Asian) for jobs in this industry. With a 90 percent job-placement rate for Pivot Point graduates, the large majority of students go on to make good livings, starting around $22,000-$25,000 per year.
We've been in a battle with the city and the developer of Gateway Mall for over two years (not "for several weeks," as was stated in the article). And we most definitely have not "recognized that Mulder [the developer]" has "the upper hand." In fact, we have never wavered from our position that our first priority has always been to stay in the community at our current location. However, we've always been open for discussion with the parties involved to hear what alternate solutions they might have. Unfortunately neither the developer nor the city has offered us any viable alternatives.
In deference to Mr. Joravsky, my "quote" is accurate and he has also raised the very important question of "What's going on with Gateway?" Pivot Point, for one, would love to know the truth!