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New Store Aims to Bring Coolness to Northwest Side

By Heather Cherone | December 11, 2012 12:07pm

EDGEBROOK — Six years ago, Laura Guenther moved to Edgebrook with her husband and two young children and found herself frustrated that there weren’t more places to shop.

“I miss going to Lincoln Square and all of the cool stores,” Guenther said.

So about a year ago, Guenther started working on a plan to open up a cool store of her own that showcases Chicago artists and companies.

Local Goods Chicago opened its doors Dec. 3 at 5354 W. Devon Ave. in the heart of the Edgebrook shopping district.

“I wanted to be in Edgebook,” Guenther said, adding that many of her neighbors also moved to the Northwest Side because of its family-friendly atmosphere and good schools, but miss the excitement of Lakeview and Roscoe Village. “I wanted to improve where I live.”

All of the items for sale at Local Goods Chicago are handcrafted or are made by Chicagoans. The storefront, across the street from the Edgebrook library branch, is set up as a series of mini-shops, like at a craft fair, for artists to display their work for sale.

“They don’t have to be there,” Guenther said of the artists. “We’ll sell their stuff for them.”

The store also accepts items for sale on consignment.

“We want the store to be eclectic and interesting,” she said.

One of the featured artists at the store is Anna Todaro, who describes her work as utopian folk art. She met Guenther at the Renegade Craft Fair when her bird paintings caught Guenther's young daughter's attention.

"I think [Guenther] has a great eye for indie crafts and has already attracted a pretty nice assortment of established and emerging local talent," Todaro said.

The store will also feature a children’s play area, and a place for workshops and classes taught by the artists, which will start in January, Guenther said. Knitting, card making and metal work are already on the calendar for January.

"I think the location of the shop on Devon is super smart and I think it's a super cute area," Todaro said.

In addition, a coffee and pastry bar will feature java from Bridgeport Coffee Co., whose owner lives in Edgebrook.

“It is all about food and art,” Guenther said of her store.

Jan Kupiec, a board member of the Edgebrook Chamber of Commerce, said the storefront now occupied by Local Goods Chicago had been vacant for about a year after a Curves Health Club and Fitness Center closed.

“We have a lot of vacancies in the business district,” Kupiec said.

The store will be an asset to the community, and has a unique concept that will help set it apart from other businesses, Kupiec said.

“I haven’t seen anything like it,” Kupiec said. “We’re hoping it’s a huge success.”