Since 1989, Play It Again Sports has been keeping sports green, recycling gently used athletic equipment into new-to-you gear. Products from brands such as Nike, Adidas, and Wilson make up each store's enormous selection of new and recycled gear, which is replenished daily with goods for a wide selection of sports that ranges from baseball and football to snowboarding, skis, and ice skates. Treadmills and exercise bikes equip bodies with muscular suits of armor, and pintsize and adolescent equipment arms youngsters with protective padding until they eat enough bologna to grow muscles of their own. Knowledgeable staffers man each location, ready to answer questions, arrange gear deliveries or pick-ups, and even sharpen skates or wax snowboards. To ensure their stock remains robust, they also encourage athletes to collect their lightly used gear—including bicycles—and bring it into a local store to either sell or trade.
Tension and worry creep through the body, elbowing into sleep, pinching at joints, and generally making life unpleasant. As harbingers of that larger monster, stress, they are formidable foes—but they prove no match for the staff of The Chicago Stress Relief Center. Led by founder Dr. Howard K. Weissman, the team develops personalized plans to help clients to manage mental and physical ailments. Concerns can be washed away with water and heat during flotation-tank and infrared-sauna sessions that afford clients solitary peace and quiet. Further aid takes the form of massage and art therapy, yoga sessions, and unlimited rolls of bubble wrap ready to be popped.
Delivery Produce Company co-owners Zac Mitton and John Geary are pretty picky. When they work with farms to procure fresh fruits and veggies for their customers, it feels like they're picking teams for a garden's kickball game. Freshly plucked produce, which at any given time might include fresh blueberries, peaches, spinach, carrots, and vine-on tomatoes, make the cut; aging veggies have to sit on the sidelines and pretend they didn't want to play anyway. Once the two acquire these precious edibles—which are sourced, in summer months, from local, Midwestern farms—they deliver them directly to homes on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.
Nickel City Games boasts a miniature metropolis of more than 100 video, arcade, and redemption games, which obey their players' skillful hands for one nickel per play. Arcade athletes compete for prize bounties at redemption games such as skee-ball and basketball, which beget bright ribbons of tickets to be exchanged for hundreds of family-friendly baubles. Meanwhile, retrophiles oust invading pixel populations free of charge in classic arcade games such as Pac-Man, Contra, and Street Fighter. Staffers at an expansive snack bar proffer plates overflowing with hearty pizzas, fries, and chili, as a customizable party room hosts themed celebrations for children and round-table negotiations between rival Mortal Kombat characters.
The family of garment specialists at Zengeler Cleaners has been enhancing fabrics and fibers with professional cleansing services since 1857. Today, they continue to tame textiles with a full range of techniques including fur and leather cleaning, tailoring, and wedding-gown heirlooming. The fabric treatment begins with a 14-point inspection, which includes spot checking and minor repairing. Customers can entrust treasured attires with the spot exorcists and their petroleum-based solvents, which freshen slacks ($8.35) and blazers or sport coats ($10.55) with perc-free care. Upper-body ensconcements such as blouses ($7.55) and laundered shirts ($2.49) also receive individual treatments, including french-cuff care. Zengeler Cleaners' pickup and drop-off service keeps careful tabs to make sure two-piece suits ($16.70) don't take detours when walking to the cleaners on their own.