All big movements start small, but many would be surprised to learn that Ten Thousand Villages—a nonprofit and retailer with 390 outlets nationwide—began out of a car trunk. In 1946, Edna Ruth Byler started the organization out of her car, taking a name from a quote by Mohandas Gandhi, who said, “India is not to be found in its few cities but in the 700,000 villages.” Her willpower and determination allowed her vision to grow into a nonprofit that today supports more than 130 artisans in 38 developing countries. These artisans' wares go on sale at the organization's nationwide retail outlets, which brim with items including jewelry, home decor, and refrigerator cozies.
Everything is made using environmentally friendly processes, and every artisan is paid a fair wage. The money raised from sales goes to supply the artisans—who might otherwise be unemployed or underemployed—with education, food, housing, and healthcare. The organization has risen to such stature that it won the People’s Choice Award for Green Business of the Year in 2005, and has acted as one of the founding members of the World Fair Trade Organization.
Since establishing themselves as one of Chicago’s leading mattress specialty stores back in 1983, The Bedding Experts remain a trusted source of brand-name bedding backed by extended warranties. Their showrooms are filled with models from Sealy, Tempur-Pedic, and Stearns & Foster, many of which are constructed with modern technologies such as memory foam and reduced-motion coils. Shoppers can also accessorize their mattresses with bed frames, pillows, mattress covers, and under-bed forcefields that repel hiding monsters. Deliveries often happen the same or next day—including evening and weekend service—with teams often taking old mattresses and frames with them when they leave. If customers find their mattress at a lower price within 60 days of purchase at one of the store's local competitors, The Bedding Experts team will refund the difference.
For more than two decades, American Mattress has promoted peaceful slumber in bedchambers throughout the Midwest with their vast selection of mattresses, headboards, and linens. The sleep experts strive to stay abreast of the latest bedding technology: their Serta mattresses are made with gel foam that supports curves, and Tempur-Pedic mattresses repel allergens, mites, and poltergeists looking to spoon. This devotion to a good night’s sleep has helped them earn the title of Best Mattress Store from suburban Chicago’s Daily Herald five years in a row. Additionally, American Mattress doubles down on each of its beds with a 30-day comfort guarantee and a 60-day best-price guarantee.
A family-owned-and-operated outfit, Crest has been furnishing homes from Indiana to Wisconsin for more than 20 years. Its aisles brim with elegant, name-brand pieces for living rooms, bedrooms, dining rooms, and boiler rooms. At any given time, more than 120 lines rotate throughout its show room, from manufacturers such as Century, Parker House, Eagle, Robin Bruce, and DR Kincaid.
Now operating out of its warehouse location after a fire claimed its Lincoln Park showroom, Roy's Furniture props up an extensive collection of home furnishings. Knowledgeable staff members guide patrons through a variety of custom-fabric options and upholstery sizes to revamp rooms for adults, children, and subleasing gummi bears. Eco-friendly mattresses, tables, sofas, and other heavy lifts can be delivered to homes or retrieved at the warehouse.
Situated on a quiet residential street in Pilsen, Textile Discount Outlet is easy to stroll past without a second glance. But behind the unassuming, narrow façade, the store unfolds into a 75,000-square-foot wonderland of fabrics, rhinestones, trims, and upholstery accessories, all available at wholesale prices. In addition to the store’s unexpectedly vast depth and selection, part of its allure stems from the diversity of its wares: in room after room, practical, durable textiles, such as waterproof fabrics and leather by the square foot, wait to be discovered. Nearby, more than 100 varieties of delicate satin and organza ribbons, vibrant feathers, and hundreds of vintage-style fabrics attract the eye like a treasure chest or a picture of Teddy Roosevelt in the buff. If customers can’t find the fabric they’re looking for, the store’s textile experts are happy to special order it.
Spotlighted by local and national press including TimeOut Chicago, the Wall Street Journal, and Michigan Avenue Magazine, Modern Vintage Chicago Market's collection of over 75 merchants shows off antique furnishings and vintage wearables from all over the world. Vintage dealers from across the country—including local favorites D. Brett Benson and Man in the Moon—stuff market stalls with men's and women's clothing, estate jewelry, and even vintage fashion magazines. Treasure hunters can investigate indoor booths to fill their closets with items from designers such as Hermes, Pucci, and Dior. In addition to apparel, Modern Vintage Chicago also features hospitality areas brimming with gourmet chocolates, as well as cuisine and drinks from local eateries.