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Get Off The Internet: New Hobby Shop Wants You To 'Unplug,' Make Something

By Patty Wetli | May 11, 2016 9:48am | Updated on May 12, 2016 7:54am
 Pursuit Supply Wants To Help Folks Follow Their Bliss — Offline
Pursuit Supply Company
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OLD IRVING PARK — Step away from the computer — well, finish this article first — and go make something.

That's the premise behind Pursuit Supply Co., which opened in late 2015 in Old Irving Park at 4316 W. Irving Park Road.

Think analog shop in a digital world.

"We're trying to get people to unplug and just be more hands on," said owner Adam Glick, who has a quick commute from his nearby Portage Park home.

Small shop with a big mission — to get people to unplug. [All photos DNAinfo/Patty Wetli]

He estimates that the 800-square-foot store stocks 800 items — the "supplies" for people to "pursue" their passions, most of which happen to be passions of Glick's as well.

"My wife works in accounting, I work in insurance. Did we aspire to that when we were 18? No," said Glick, now in his mid-30s.

Before opening Pursuit, Glick had hoped to start his own distillery.

"No one would give me a loan," he said, so now it's his mission to help others follow their bliss.

There's a refrigerator full of photographic film — yep, companies are still manufacturing film — buckets of malt for home brewing, kits for cheese-making, crocks for pickling and electronic circuits to build devices like mini-keyboards.

"Some days I'll sell a bunch of beer stuff, some days coffee, then photography," said Glick.

"The store is definitely a work in progress — we're figuring things out," he said, including the recent addition of classes.

Glick readily acknowledges that he's swimming upstream, going brick-and-mortar in the Age of Amazon.

"Can you get this stuff online? Yeah," he said. "Do you still want to have cool things in your neighborhood and not empty storefronts?"

He's betting on Pursuit tapping into a number of intersecting trends: the maker movement, the push to "shop local," and a backlash against technology's intrusion into all corners of daily life.

Pursuit stocks some 800 items in its 800 square feet.

Though Glick, who majored in photography at Columbia College, is naturally biased toward film — How many people have hundreds of photos on a memory card that will never see the light of day? he asked — he isn't a lone wolf howling into the void.

"There's too much technology — I can't keep up," said 21-year-old Kellyn Isel, who stopped into Pursuit to buy film for a 35mm camera she picked up at a yard sale for $4.

"Film is something new that I can experiment with. Instead of snapping 50 photos in one second, it's not just point and shoot," she said.

"I want to photograph my girlfriend — it makes it seem more realistic. I can print it and keep it in my room," said Isel.

Polaroids split the difference between traditional film cameras and digital's instant gratification.

To a certain extent, Glick trades in "Oh my god, remember flash bulbs" nostalgia, but he emphasizes that his merchandise is meant to be used, not treated like museum pieces.

"All of the cameras work. They're functional devices, they work well. It's pretty impressive engineering," he said.

Parents, he's noticed, are buying cameras for children who've never experienced pre-digital equipment.

"You have to be more deliberate," Glick said of the old-school methods. "It makes you think more about what you're doing."

Ultimately Pursuit is selling the notion of time and craft — not only slowing down to make something that could easily be purchased but making it well.

Take coffee, which is one of Glick's newer pursuits.

There's nothing wrong with buying a cup of joe at the local coffee shop but instead of outsourcing this morning ritual, it's possible for people to brew an equally good cup at home, he said.

"It has to do with the process," said Glick.

He can walk folks through the necessary steps, from bean to brew, be it showing them how to roast raw beans in a popcorn popper to explaining how an AeroPress works (like a reverse French press).

Glick mans the store largely on his own six days a week — wife Elizabeth Heidtbrink pitches in on Saturdays — and while he spends more time these days talking about photography and brewing than doing, his contagious enthusiasm for everything from canning jars to coffee filters is the best advertisement for Pursuit's motto: "a shop for the industrious."

"You've got to keep on learning," he said. "You've got to keep on growing."

Barrel-age your own gin, whiskey or beer.

Make your own coffee, from bean to brew.

Malt for home-brewing beer.

Old-school cameras need old-school flash bulbs.

Fridge full of film, and not a thing to eat.

Here's a cheesy idea.

Brewer's yeast.

Check out Pursuit Supply at 4316 W. Irving Park Road.

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