Januar 4, 2012 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- The 'cash mob' movement, which supports local, independent businesses, hit Chicago Wednesday.
Like flash mobs, the word is spread using social media. The idea is to help the local economy.
Business is normally a bit slow on a Wednesday evening after the holidays. But the cash register was humming at the Andersonville Galleria as customers browsed the store's artwork, the products of nearly 100 local artists.
"The idea is just to support businesses by getting a group together, kind of like a flash mob and kind of have that same fun sense of getting people together and coming to support a local business," said Joanne Forster-Coffin, Cash Mob organizer.
This area well north of the city center was first settled by Swedish immigrants more than 150 years ago. A Swedish museum and bakery remain as vestiges, but, after a period of decline in the 1980s, the area is now home to a diverse population, including the most registered same-sex couples in the state of Illinois, and seemingly nearly as many indie home-decor shops. It's a 20-minute drive or 40-minute bus ride from downtown; you'll likely want to spend at least half a day here.
Andersonville Galleria, a three-level consortium of more than 90 independently owned booths, features unusual gifts galore, from soaps and candles we hadn't seen elsewhere to original fashions. One particularly great score was a pair of hot-pad holders featuring beefcake construction-worker pin-ups for $20.
While many of Chicago's popular neighborhoods purr with attention, Andersonville has remained authentically understated, meeting any threat of critical mass with a cool nonchalance. At the turn of the last century, Chicago’s Swedish population was the second largest outside of Stockholm, and Andersonville's ever-present blue and yellow flags leave no doubt to that heritage. An uninterrupted row of independently-owned boutiques, galleries, restaurants and specialty shops offer endless reasons to stay well past midnight.
The Andersonville Galleria has been fueling the thrill-of-the-hunt, endorphin-shopping rush since 2007. An indie market with over 100 vendors and artisans devoted to the handcrafted arts, it has the feel of a street festival without the inconvenience of bad weather. The spacious, gallery-lit space showcases an array of wares: home décor, jewelry, art, fair trade, photography, skincare, fashion and gourmet dessert. "This is the only place to connect with artists and support them directly," says Holly Elzinga, who co-manages this well-edited bazaar of goods with Denise Riesen. andersonvillegalleria.com
December 10, 2010 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- If you still have more presents to pick up this holiday season, you might consider giving a gift that gives back.
They are gifts that both help the earth and benefit people in need around the world.
If you're planning to put a sweater under the tree for your dad or maybe get a handbag for your sister, why not buy one that also helps provide an education for a child in Africa or fights human trafficking in southeast Asia? You can if you buy fair trade and shop green.
At the Ten Thousand Villages store in Oak Park, you can find items ranging from practical, like hats and sweaters - to whimsical, like picture frames made from bike chains and dolls fashioned from dried orange peels.
All of the items have two things in common: they are hand-made and fair trade. That means the artisans in developing countries who make the products are paid a living wage.
"We're able to pay those artisans enough money so they can send their kids to school, put food on their table and put a roof over their head," said Clare Leavitt, manager, Ten Thousand Villages.
At the Fair Trader in Hyde Park, you can find one-of-a-kind items made in countries like Haiti, Ghana, and Costa Rica. The store's three co-owners are proud to say none of their wares are made in sweatshops.
"There's no child labor involved. If it's made with a kind of machine like a sewing machine or something like that, it's made in a community work room or even someone's home," said Cindy Pardo, co-owner, The Fair Trader.
On the city's North Side, you can find an emporium of choices at the Andersonville Galleria.
"We have about 100 different small businesses here. So everything from art, photography, some fair trade businesses, some antiques, a lot of jewelry, home decor," said Holly Elzinga, manager, Andersonville Galleria.
The variety seems endless. Lia Valerio offers handbags and purses made from recycled feed bags and silk from southeast Asia. The company also has a social mission.
"We work with producer groups in Cambodia that are dedicated to helping marginalized populations of women there," said Valerio," and as a company, we donate back to an organization that fights child trafficking."
Though it's located pretty far north in our city, the supreme shopping on Clark Street in Andersonville is definitely worth the trek. This neighborhood boasts Swedish roots and a thriving scene of locally owned boutiques, thrift shops and galleries. Between eco-friendly finds, eclectic antiques and delicious goodies, there are plenty of treasures just waiting to be found here. If you need a few unique and thoughtful gifts this holiday season, simply take a stroll down Clark Street.
Andersonville Galleria: Andersonville Galleria has all the benefits of an outdoor market, but with an indoor location. Over 90 artisans and vendors (most of which are local) sell their products here, whether it's jewelry, clothing, furniture, artwork or food. Browse through different sales displays and enjoy a single check-out point, where UPC codes determine which vendors are reimbursed for your purchase.
5247 N. Clark St.; 773-878-8570
Store Review: The Andersonville Galleria in Chicago
Sally Ryan for The New York Times
By BONNIE TSUI
Located in a traditionally Swedish neighborhood that's undergone an arty transformation, the Andersonville Galleria is quietly becoming the go-to spot for handmade jewelry, clothing and other wares, most made locally by an eclectic mix of artists and designers who rent space month to month.
In late 2007, two local developers, Mark Falanga and Ray Pesavento, opened the galleria in a 7,000-square-foot exposed-brick space that was once home to Wikstrom's Gourmet Foods, the neighborhood's historic Swedish deli.
It has since grown to become an incubator for homegrown indie artisans; there are now over 90 tenants on four floors. A flea market this is not - more like a clean, well-lighted gallery, down to the spotlighted photographs and artist bios, and the front counter, fashioned from the deli's antique freezer.
A visit during a recent fall afternoon yielded an impressive array of basic retail offerings, like linen bags and gourmet toffee. But the work can also tack toward the whimsical, as with a hand-printed T-shirt emblazoned with the slogan "Mayor for Life," paired with a likeness of the longtime city politician Richard M. Daley ($21, from Novem Studios, a local brand). The graphic artist Annette Rapier, who designs under the moniker Blamgirl, makes clever use of architectural glass blocks, turning them into super-heroine-themed items (a night light sells for $45).
Another inventive display is from the "Drinking & Writing Brewery," a Chicago-area radio show that celebrates "creativity under the influence"; books, clothing, and posters are for sale, including artwork by the artist Ralph Steadman.
Wood-handled handbags made from recycled magazines and newspapers sell for $65, imported from East Africa by Fair Earth, a Chicago-based company that supports fair-trade designs. In the same stall is a wire-frame jewelry box that uses recycled bottle caps from Kenya's Tusker Lager, each cap with the signature yellow elephant ($32).
The galleria acts as the brick-and-mortar retail outlet for many start-up designers whose work may be available only online, or nowhere else.
"I loved the concept of the galleria - helping artists who can't afford to rent an entire store," said Ariel Arwen, a jewelry designer who opened her exhibition space in May. Her work centers on gorgeous clusters of keshi pearls with a champagne sheen (earrings from $28).
"Stationed in the center of Andersonville's bustline shopping district, this unique market building houses nearly 100 independent artisans and merhcants hawking a diverse range of wares. A champion of shopping locally, the Galleria gives emerging Chicago talent a much-need retail presence.
The building's three loft-like floors of individual booths, which tenants rent month-to-month, are richly varied, featuring apparel, home furnishings, jewelry, antiques, artwork, gourmet foods and more. Nearly everything here is hand-made, from Kuketa's modern, organic screen-prints to Kiichpan's Guatemalan apparel and accessories to Le Bouton's antique button adornments. Local favorites, like Terry's Toffee are also represented, along with exceptionally quirky, one-of-a-kind creations like BLAMG!RL's Superwoman mosaic art. We love upscale pet products by Animal Haus; vibrant dresses and patterned scarves handmade by Indian artisans from Leeba Creations; and modern, reversible handbags from Ellu.
Though the Galleria possesses the color and life of the street bazaar, many of the booths more closely resemble retail storefronts. Visual merchandising and display are important here, and each stall communicates its own brand. In an atmosphere that's cozy and down-home, the shopping still remains undeniably chic.
Galleria a Start for Art Chicago Sun-Times, August 13, 2008read more here
“inspired” —Chicago Magazine
“indie marketing (with) a little bit of everything.” —Chicago Reader
“a personalized shopping experience ...with an eye for rare, local flair” —Time Out Chicago
CHICAGO READER | November 22, 2007 by Heather Kenny
The Andersonville Galleria brings indie marketing to the north side, with nearly 50 craftspeople, designers, and artists renting retail space month-to-month in a newly rehabbed building just north of Foster. When the second floor opens next year, that number is expected to double.
There's a little bit of everything here: food (Terry's Toffee, in flavors like "lemon paradise" and "lavenilla"), art (I particularly liked Scott Fishman's color-saturated photographs, including one of a cloudy sky and its reflection in the curved srurface of the Bean), and of course clothes and accessories. There's some of the crafty fabric bags and ethnic bead necklaces endemic to street fairs, but not so much. I was tempted by Marrakech Treasures' square leather bags - dyed in luscious shades of green, purple, and orange and adorned with etched metal hardware- and a T-shirt by Novem Studios with an image of Richie Daley and the legedn "Mayor for Life." The charmingly hippie-looking kids' sweaters and dresses by LV Designs are hand-knitted on a circular needle, which means there are no seams and the clothes can stretch to fit a growing tot. Other local designers taking part include Lu-Dia Couture, whose double-breasted wool coats were on view when I stopped by, and milliner Marjorie Marshall.
CHICAGO MAGAZINE | December 11, 2007 An Art Mart in Andersonville By Rebecca Little
The new Andersonville Galleria (5247 N. Clark St.; 773-878-8570) lets you shop local with less legwork by combining the wares of more than 40 artists in one three-floor, loft-like pace. Here you'll find stall after stall of everyting from fine art to T-shirts to toffee. The nice selection of artists and designers also includes many that are usually only available online, such as world-shoppe.com. Hand-printed tees from Novem Studios include a black one with a graphic silver el ($25). You'll find vases and sconces from the Streeterville florist City Scents; antiques, such as the fun and kitschy assortment from Vintage Swank; Chicago-themed coasters from Denise Riesen ($35 for four); and fine art from boldly graphic oils to photography. This one-stop shopping galleria is so inspired, we hope it catches on in other neighborhoods. The top floor is scheduled to open, with 45 more stalls, in the spring. Check out the store at Lat-er Night Andersonville on Dec. 13th from 6 to 10 p.m., when the businesses along Clark Street stay open late for holiday shopping.
Top Sales This Week
Do you miss the Chicago Antique Market? It's back, albeit in a different form, for the holidays. The Modern Vintage Holiday Market, a bazaar of 75 vendors selling modern and vintage jewelry [and] handbags.
MAGGIE FINEGAN | Creative Holiday Shopping in Andersonville
by Maggie Finegan
Posted by Maggie Finegan under For Buyers, For Realty Professionals, For Sellers, Resgional News, Giving Thanks, Andersonville
I had coffee with jill Siegel, Managing Director of the non-profit Andersonville Development Corporation. We talked about initiatives to help attract and suport local retailers and business. Working on a Green Building Program, and planning to host Open Houses for Retailers who want to know more about Andersonville. I will write more about those later. Foremost on her priorites are new independent local retailers that need our support.
Are you looking for a one of a kind holiday gift, and want to Shop Locally Owned, and help support independent retailers in Andersonville? Visit the newly opened Andersonville Galleria at 5247 N. Clark, for great gift ideas. It's a galleria that gives small, independent artist/craftspeople affordable exhibit space to display their wares. I took a stroll there yesterday and the quality of the crafts for sale is exceptional. There are several jewelry and bead artists; fourmet food gift maker Terry's Toffee, Ice Cream and Biscotti; also Atelier fine women's clothing, hand woven shawls; along with art photography, and even a few antiques. Don't miss this shopping experience and help support our local artists. Learn more about the Galleria by clicking here.
Be sure to visit the newly opened Clar Street shops, including Coffee Studio just opened at Clark and Olive Streets at the north end.n
CHICAGO TRIBUNE | December 15, 2007
The new Andersonville Galleria lets you shop local with less legwork by combining the wares of more than 40 artists in one three-floor, loft-like space. Here you'll find stall after stall of everything from fine art to T-shirts to toffee. the nice selection of artists and designers also includes many that are usually available only online. Hand-printed tees from Novem Studios include a black one with a graphic silver "L" ($25). You'll find vases and sconces from Streeterville florist City Scents; antiques, such as the fun and kitschyi assortment from Vintage Swank; Chicago-theme coasters from Denis Riesen ($35 for four); and fine art from bold graphic oil painting to photography. The top floor is scheduled to open, with 45 more stalls, in the spring.