Shopping in Oak Park


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  • Ten Thousand Villages Chicago
    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.
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    121 North Marion Street
    Oak Park, IL US
  • Val's halla Records
    In 1962, Val Camilletti began working at Capitol Records, which was ushering in a new era of music, led by The Beatles and The Beach Boys. Ten years later, she opened her own retail record shop, which has spent 40 years distributing eclectic sounds to listeners who, Val says, "are tired of shopping for music in refrigerator stores." At Val's, you'll find vinyl records lined up in tidy rows and rock posters on the walls. Its expansive, rotating stock features several musical genres and spotlights burgeoning local artists. Knowledgeable staff can also help customers hunt down rare issues, imports, or B-sides. If a record is not in the store inventory, Val's can order it within 24 to 48 hours, depending on how fast they can wake up Keith Richards.
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    239 W Harrison St.
    Oak Park, IL US
  • Back to Bed
    Back to Bed is a trusted source for sound sleep, growing from a single store in 2000 to a mattress empire with more than 45 locations across the Chicagoland area. Tempur-Pedic, Stearns & Foster, and Simmons Beautyrest mattresses await rigorous testing at each of their show rooms, where sleep-savvy employees can help shoppers determine if they're more suited to a firm or soft mattress or to creamy or chunky peanut butter. Back to Bed also induces relaxation in a nonhorizontal form with a selection of plush massage recliners and Human Touch's Perfect Chair, which cradles bodies in a muscularly neutral position.
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    1149 Garfield Street
    Oak Park, IL US
  • Scalas Original
    Founded in 1925, Scala's Original provides authentic Italian meats prepared with a quality-over-quantity mentality. The Italian sausage is a tubular treasure of succulent pork and savory seasoning, much like a monocled sow's gold-sewn sock (5 lbs. for $79.95). This signature rolliche contains no excess fat, additives, or preservatives. Cow lovers can bolster bread with the famously thin-sliced beef for a truly historical hoagie, as Scala's claims to have helped invent the first Italian-beef sandwich during the Great Depression ($99.95 for 5 lbs., comes with a half gallon of gravy). Champions of duality can indulge in both meats with the beef and sausage combo pack, which includes 2 pounds of roast beef with a half gallon of gravy, 2.5 pounds of Italian sausage, and is augmented with 16 Gonnella bread rolls and a jar of Scala's own giardiniera ($124.95).
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    201 North Scoville Avenue
    Oak Park, IL US
  • Sleepy's
    Sleepy's is the American dream. It all started when Louis Acker landed on Ellis Island in the late 1920s. In 1931, he opened a mattress store in Brooklyn, where he and his son, Harry, tied knots and stitched mattresses by hand. After Louis passed away, Harry carried on the family business, eventually transforming it into Sleepy's, whose first store opened in 1957. There, he built the company's foundation upon quality products and an expert staff of Mattress Professionals. Today, those Mattress Professionals share their wisdom at more than 1,000 showrooms across the United States, helping people figure out which sleep system is best for their body and wallet. The modern-day version of Sleepy's has grown into customers' source for the industry's top brands, including Simmons, Serta, Sealy, and Tempur-Pedic. Sleepy's also carries a wide range of other specialty sleep products, from pillows and mattress pads to sheets, blankets, and headboards.
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    1120 W Lake St.
    Oak Park, IL US
  • Bee Home and Garden
    Bee Home and Garden's many shelves are filled with one-of-a-kind finds, from vintage pieces to original artwork?but the merchandise is only part of what makes Colleen Moroney Maia's shop unique. These charming gifts compete for attention with the beautiful blossoms in the shop's spring garden center, or the petite goodies that stand ready to fill Easter baskets, Christmas stockings, and non-holiday-specific gift containers. The shop's BYOB workshops even unlock inner creativity, encouraging guests to make gift-ready trinkets and decor with their own two hands. However, the greatest gift found at Bee Home and Garden can't be wrapped in any box: working closely with a local high school, Maia provides opportunities for first-generation college-bound students, hoping to help them prepare for their next exciting adventure.
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    128 Chicago Avenue
    Oak Park, IL US

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