Wetzel, a Chicagoland native, has more than 30 years of hands-on retail sales experience and merchandising experience. This ranges from specialty to department stores; for brands from Gap to Gucci. Lawson, a native of Denver, Colorado, is an attorney. In New York, he worked with brands such as American Express and the
Walt Disney Company.
The pair are also domestic partners. From 2004-2010, they conceptualized and ran Jake, a group of designer specialty stores in Chicago, with annual revenue topping 6 million dollars. Since the Spring of 2010, the duo have successfully run SPACE 519.
SPACE 519 opened in 2010 as the first fully integrated, European-style, concept store in Chicago. For over seven years, owners Lance Lawson and Jim Wetzel have traveled the globe to assure that SPACE 519 continues to serve as the 'go-to' destination for savvy clients who appreciate fresh takes on the everyday.
Within SPACE 519 is The Lunchroom, a 40-seat lunch and brunch restaurant, with an all-day café, serving local favorite, Metric coffee, along with house made sweet scones, gourmet savory muffins, and pastries from Chicago bakery, pHlour. The Lunchroom menu features locally-sourced ingredients and focuses on vegetable forward, California style cuisine. The Lunchroom represents the final piece which brings a fully integrated European style concept store and restaurant to Chicago.