BEVERLY — Chicago's Southwest Side can be a treasure trove for gift buyers ... if you know where to look.
An eclectic mix of independent businesses sell many one-of-a-kind items. Others offer a unique shopping experience that takes the stress out of holiday gift buying.
So for 19th Ward residents looking to shop local this holiday season, here's a few suggestions.
With books stacked nearly floor to ceiling, Bookie's Paperbacks & More, 2419 W. 103rd St., discounts all books between 10 percent and 40 percent. The best discounts are given to those trading in and buying used books. Owner, Allison Platt recommends "This Star Won't Go Out: The Life and Words of Esther Grace Earl." Chicago author John Green dedicated his hit book "The Fault In Our Stars" to Esther Grace Earl. This book ($15) is both her memoir and eulogy.
What began as modest seedlings in October have now become grand poinsettias at Steuber Florist & Greenhouses, 2654 W. 111th St. Designer Joani Matyka said the homegrown plants are best sellers throughout the holiday season. The poinsettias range in size and price. Small pots can be had for as little as $10. Whereas, Steuber's giant poinsettias that fill a room cost $150.
Shrader's Goods Inc. literally began out of the back of Steve Shrader's trunk, as he'd travel from firehouse to firehouse selling T-shirts, hats and other Chicago Fire Department clothing. He opened a store, 3145 W. 111th St., in 2009 and died one year later. His brother and sister-in-law, Joe and Dina Shrader now run the business. Among the many CFD items in stock are hoodies ($25) for toddlers in sizes ranging from 6-18 months.
Belle Up, 1915 W. 103rd St., stocks mostly maternity and women's clothing at its new location in Beverly. However, the boutique still carries a few baby items including Chicago-born onesies ($20) from Four Eyes Handmade. Popular designs include infusing the Chicago flag with the city skyline and a snow globe featuring the same gorgeous skyline. The onesies are available as long-sleeve rompers in sizes 0-24 months. Short-sleeve tees are also available in sizes 2T-6.
The Shop 147, 2321 W. 95th St., opened seven months ago, dedicating its entire western wall to shoes. The Beverly store is the third urban clothing shop for owner Ronnie Atieh. He also has stores in South Shore and the original joint in suburban Harvey. Styles change frequently, but Atieh said the Nike ACG Boots ($129-$160) are sure to remain top sellers throughout the winter months. The waterproof kicks come in both wheat and black.
The Blossom Boys, 9911 S. Walden Parkway, have stocked their Beverly florist shop with all types of unique gifts, including a series of bracelets made from recycled pop tops. Florida-based Ann Made LLC makes the bracelets ($28) from pop tops donated to the Ronald McDonald House, said Ryan Steinbach, co-owner of the store. The bracelets are among several items in the store have been purchased through fair trade shows.
Listen to all the great gift ideas in the neighborhoods here: