Celebrating Chicago: Independent Retailer Month

Today’s entry from175 Days to Love Chicago asks us to remember that it is Independent Retailer Month. Be on the lookout for the 175 sign in a window of participating retailers.  As a person who doesn’t think a city is a real unless it has good locally-owned restaurants, at least one (preferably more) independent bookstores, and one LYS (local yarn store) within an one hour drive, I can get behind this one.  And so I’ will compile two lists for my dear reader(s — I truly think there’s only one of you).  Those local independent outlets I adore (most are not members of the organization above though) and a wish list of my own.  So here goes:

  • What the Traveler Saw: an independent retailer in my home neighborhood of Hyde Park.  I have bought some very American things here — Obama postcards by local artists, toaster coasters — but also some prints and pens from around the world.  I also adore the Journal section of the website, that includes photos of the owner’s travels.
  • Snail Thai: my favorite little corner of Thai (ish — it seems Americanized to me, but I never claimed to want it too authentic), also in Hyde Park.
  • Loopy Yarns: my closest LYS, located in the Dearborn Station in the South Loop.  Friendly, knowledgeable faces and staff.  They offer classes at a reasonable rate and I don’t think that their prices are insanely low (where I would wonder if they make any money) nor completely budget blowing.  Love their new antique sock machine too!
  • Open Books Store: this social start-up operates one of the best bookstores with great events around.  Their mission to improve and increase child and adult literacy is amazing and their innovative programs are incredibly inspiring.
  • Overflow Coffee Bar: an inviting and warm place to sip and munch.  I’ve met book groups here too.
  • The Gage: a restaurant on Michigan Ave that is my go-to for lunch.

To try:

  • Sifu Design Studio: an LYS that tempts me so much I have been avoiding it and will not be visiting with any kind of credit card.  That said, if I ever get up the guts to make one of the skirts I want to knit for myself, this is the kind of place I’d go to buy luxury yarn and seek their support.  Makes me excited for the 2012 Chicagoland Yarn Crawl!
  • Abraham Lincoln Book Shop: known for its Americana, not just Abe-focused.  Sounds like a history lover’s dream to me!
  • Charnley-Persky House: a featured partner of 175 Days to Love Chicago! This Gold Coast gem is just down the street from another partner, the Junior League of Chicago (more to come on that), and is boating its 120th Anniversary.  Their website invites everyone to “Celebrate this anniversary with us and attend our extended tour hours (coming soon!), 2012 lecture series, and SAH Awards Gala in November 2012.”  This building is extraordinary for being a work of both Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright.
  • Jane Addams Hull-House Museum: with the recent shuttering of her world-famous charity, Hull House, it is with great gratitude that UIC has been able to preserve her historical legacy.  One of the earliest social scientists, who was truly saw the dignity of individuals while also working on institutional change, Jane Addams was all too often marginalized in her own day, in part to her own status as a woman.  And in my own quick Google search, I found out that one of the exhibits through December 31 (at an off-site location) is on the history of the Conservative Vice Lords.  Hmm, here’s a slice of Chicago history that few of us would know.  And it made the Huffington Post!

Whew, that’s not a very long list at all, but as with most things, I can see these spiraling into all sorts of other reading and exploring! I LOVE CHICAGO!

4 thoughts on “Celebrating Chicago: Independent Retailer Month

    • Loopy Yarns also has free knit/crochet-ins every Friday night. I don’t tend to make it very often but I do love my South Side S ‘n B group that meets every Monday evening at Hyde Park Arts Center. My group is great about knowing about other area yarn events like Vogue Knitting coming in September, Stitch & Pitch at the Sox every summer, and everyone who heads to Stitches in August. I suggest finding another group like that too, much more social, less about buying the shop’s stuff!

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