LorEnn's Hallmark boasts six locations peppered around the Chicagoland area, each brimming with a broad assortment of cards and gifts designed by Hallmark's talented team of artists. Shelves filled with the brand’s signature greeting cards help thoughtful shoppers find just the right words or cartoon thought bubble to express feelings of love, congratulations, or sympathy, with creative designs for all manner of occasions. Colorful gift bags await to conceal Precious Moments figurines, ornaments, books, and decorative housewares, and albums and picture frames help preserve and protect photographs or other memorable keepsakes from the ravages of time and indoor rainstorms.
More than 50,000 books line the shelves at Elgin Books and Coffee, many available for 50% to 90% less than their cover prices. Visitors can wander through the chandelier-lit shop perusing classics, out-of-print texts, biographies, cookbooks, and many other types of published matter. An attached café offers an inviting space in which to sip java or tea and read.
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.
The Genuine Article is a studio, a workshop, a gallery, a bead shop and a hands on classroom. You may be thinking this is a lot in one location, but we have something no one else has, Betty James Hoppensteadt a professional artist for over 30 years.
Grand Frame Inc, an Arlington Heights establishment since 1974, corrals more than 3,000 frames, posters, and display museum cases in its 8,000 square-foot space. Gary Grana, the framery's cofounder, holds two patents in framing technology and has passed his passion for the industry to several members of his family who now guide customers through framing options for sports memorabilia, wedding photos, and lovingly audited tax documents. In addition to carefully inspecting every project that goes through the shop, Gary's expert staff also doles out frame-hanging services to help complete customers' decor. Over the years, the store has continuously evolved its services by offering LCD TV framing and Grand Gone Green products, a signature line that embraces an eco-friendly approach to picture framing.