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.
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 herd of cows is the perfect way to furnish a pasture, but, despite its name, Sell a Cow focuses more on furnishing home interiors. Stocked with designs from brands including Coaster Fine Furniture and Ashley Furniture, the stores can outfit nearly any room. Bedrooms transform with sleigh beds, canopy beds, or compact bunk beds for kids. And living rooms come together around sumptuous armchairs and coffee tables. In addition to furniture, an extensive selection of accents adds stylish touches with wine cabinets, lamps, mirrors, and rugs.
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.
Each Discount Mattress store stocks hundreds of name-brand memory-foam, latex, gel, and pillow-top mattresses, all with prices averaging 50%–75% below retail. Brand-new mattresses from manufacturers such as Stearns & Foster, Spring Air Back Supporter, King Koil, Comfort Solutions, Americana, and Kathy Ireland Collection saturate the showroom floors, offering a variety of firmness levels to suit beds, budgets, and pillow forts of all sizes. Each an experienced sleeper themselves, staff members are well-suited to assist customers in their quest for sounder slumber, and each purchase is backed by a 110% price guarantee should the same mattress appear somewhere else for less. In addition to supporting spines, Discount Mattress helps buttress the Illinois economy by selling mattresses that are made locally, and caters to busy schedules by offering same-day delivery to homes from the western suburbs to downtown Chicago.
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.