Support Chicago businesses from your couch | Shop Local | Chicago Reader

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Support Chicago businesses from your couch

Because Amazon is gonna be just fine.

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You need something—make that everything—delivered, and before you’ve even finished typing A-m-, your browser has taken you to that magical behemoth in the sky (aka Seattle) that will make all of your free two-day shipping dreams come true. Not so fast, friend. Before you hit Add to Cart and add another dime to Jeff Bezos’s billions—with a B—consider supporting a local business instead, especially for things you’d usually stroll by and buy. 

Many of your favorite independent shops and stores are delivering on demand, and while it may not be as convenient as buying with a single click, you’re supporting the local economy from the comfort of your couch. Not all heroes wear capes; some wear pajamas. All damn day. 

Books

Many beloved members of the Chicagoland Independent Bookstore Alliance (ChIBA)—including Women & Children First and 57th Street Books—are accepting online orders you can have shipped to your door. Visit your favorite store’s website to verify their delivery status. Some are offering free shipping and have digital programming you can access while their physical spaces are closed, including podcasts and their bestseller lists.

Get crafty

A customer of South Loop crafter’s paradise Yarnify called the need to keep your hands busy a "Pandemic Project,” and whatever language you use, this yarn shop’s online store is open. They note that they don’t always get prompt notification when orders come in and ask that customers e-mail a copy of orders to barbaraofyarnify@gmail.com.

Groceries

You won’t be able to wander around the wonderland that is HarvesTime Foods for a while, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your chicharrones esponjados fix. The Lincoln Square institution is offering free same-day and curbside pickup. Visit Harvestimefoods.com to place an order.

The website for Lincoln Park’s lush Green City Market also has a searchable list of vendors (read: farmers) that are offering pickup and delivery. 

Meals and more

If you haven’t yet, check out Reader senior writer Mike Sula’s recent stories about the restaurant delivery site Dining at a Distance and efforts by Rogers Park Food Not Bombs to convert restaurant food waste into food for the needy. Many local restaurants have gotten creative and are offering meal kits, care packages, and grocery staples for delivery. Ordering direct from the restaurants helps them avoid the fees of delivery sites. 

Self-care

Four words: discreet flat-rate shipping. If you’ve never ordered online from sex toy store Early to Bed and you don’t want your mail carrier or neighbors all up in your business, those four little words will be key. The shop’s online store is accepting orders, though they warn there may be a delay in fulfillment. See what we did there?

Gifts that keep on giving

Many service-based businesses—spas, salons, child-care providers, etc.—that have been shut down by the stay-at-home order are offering gift certificates, and all of the owners I’ve spoken to are counting on the gifty influx of cash while their doors are closed. Even better: if you can buy a gift you don’t intend to claim. If your go-to self-care oasis isn’t open now, giving to them ensures that someday in the future they will be. 

We appreciate how many businesses around the city are hosting fundraisers for their idle employees, including some of our favorite bars, restaurants, and music venues. Koval Distillery is hosting a GoFundMe that caught our eye—and not just because alcohol is involved. The company is raising money to help provide alcohol-based hand sanitizers to the medical community, retirement homes, and others involved in fighting coronavirus. At press time they had raised more than $24,000 toward their $40,000 goal from 531 donors.   v

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