Many of the secondhand shops in town sell grungy duds from the 70s that only appeal to the young and hip. Not here. Silver Moon specializes in quality fashions that first saw the glamorous life back in the 20s, 30s, and 40s. But that's only half of the inventory and half of the appeal. The north wing of the shop houses vintage housewares and knickknacks to charm the new, or the old.
Lenny & Me has an excellent presentation of its vintage wares. The front window is always decorated with an enticing display of clothing, shoes, accessories and other fanciful finds. Lenny & Me feels like a vintage designer boutique. The owners provide only the best selection of retro items. Their house wares, for example, look like perfect replicas of items that were once displayed in the Better Homes and Gardens and Ladies' Home Journals of yesteryear. You may be able to find the exact same things hidden in the back of a no-name thrift store for a cheaper price, but here you are paying for the convenience of someone already having done that for you. For a sampling of what Lenny & Me has to offer, see their etsy shop. - Betsy Mikel
What the Ark lacks in organization and curb appeal, it makes up for in its goods. Most repeat Ark customers praise its selection of household items and furniture. As locals browse the always-rotating stock of dining room sets, couches and chairs, travelers short on suitcase space can search for treasures in the back. It's likely you might find a vintage mug with the Chicago skyline or an old hand-powered eggbeater. But if you see something of interest, it's best to grab it right away. Nothing at the Ark remains on the shelves for long. The resale clothing shop has a separate entrance, and items are often $1. Proceeds from the Ark Thrift Shop help fund the social services provided by ARK Chicago, a non-profit organization serving the Chicagoland Jewish community. - Betsy Mikel
In an age where movies, comics and games are readily available for free or cheap on the Internet, few stores remain that specialize in these types of entertainment in their original hard-copy form. Luckily, Brainstorm Movies, Comics and Gaming is one that does. The store makes a point to ensure that customers understand that no matter who they are, be they geeked out comic nerds or just browsing movies for a weeknight rental, everyone is welcome. Discounts and sales on comic books are frequent, and the staff is always friendly and patient with questions. The selection of movies is varied, and includes documentaries, independent films and unreleased foreign films. - Betsy Mikel
This self-proclaimed modern day general store stocks a unique assortment of oddities. Rudy's Roundup is a good gift idea destination for those who like vintage or kitschy items. The yellow and blue tiled floor matches the eclectic selection of clothing, accessories, greeting cards, candles, soaps and other trinkets. The selection of goods is random, but interesting. It's easy to lose 30 minutes in this tiny storefront. Some neighboring stores have developed a reputation for being stuffy and overpriced, but Rudy's Roundup is nothing of the sort. These owners are known to be cheerful and friendly, have reasonable prices, and even donate 25 cents to an animal charity when customers choose not to take a bag for their purchase. -Betsy Mikel
With boutiques and retail stores across the country, collections by Margeret O'Leary give women another reason to get dressed and flaunt that perfect 10. Erica Tanov, Rozae Nichols, Burning Torch, Chan Luu, Renee Garvey, and Calleen Cordeiro designs are found in abundance. Check out the shoes and accessories as well. And if jewelry is not your thing, the cuts and designs here may just change your mind. Prices can be steep, but with stuff like this, it could be expected.
If you're looking for a good engagement ring at a reasonable price then Kerry Gaynor can help. Just hop over to her store (by appointment of course) and she'll give you advice only a friend would about the size of the rock, rating and cut. She believes that the look of the ring is all important. Size matters. Apart from engagement rings, Kerry Catherine also finds stones for pendants and earrings in gems like sapphires and rubies.
As the name implies, this store specializes in rare and collectible coins, especially those made of silver. However, gold, silver, and platinum treasures such as jewelry, chains, rings and silverware are also available. For example, a full-line of 14-karat gold watches, coin mountings and gold rings are available. In addition, you can sell your wares to the store; it pledges to buy all pocket and wrist watches, as well as war relics. On site numismatists Steve and John Hill are very qualified to answer your questions.
With hundreds of dance-music titles imported from Latin America and Eastern Europe, it is no surprise that many younger immigrants flock to this store. The store features pop, dance and a smattering of other styles. While Latin performers, like Jennifer Lopez and Ricky Martin, are all the rage these days, a quick visit here will remind you that the Americanized version of Latin culture does not even begin to scratch the surface.
If you are dreaming of the sounds and images of Puerto Rico, then you simply must stop into this quaint little store to browse through the selection of compact discs and cassette tapes. The shop offers such authentic music genres as merengue, salsa and Caribbean rhythms, with a broad range of artists to choose from. It also carries a number of gift items and souvenirs.