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Chicago Shops Pivot to E-Retail During Coronavirus Outbreak

As local businesses close to quell the spread of COVID-19, they’re offering no-contact alternatives.

Be Kind bundle
Photo: Courtesy of Winifred Grace

This Week’s Top Story

As businesses temporarily close to quell the spread of COVID-19, local boutiques are offering no-contact solutions to shopping. If you’re in the position to support your favorite local shop, be sure to watch retailers’ websites and social feeds for pop-up sales, free shipping, new online arrivals, and more. In the meantime, here’s what a few local businesses are doing:

Andersonville’s Winifred Grace (5632 N. Clark St., winifredgrace.com) has put together a mail-order package meant to foster good vibes. The “Be Kind” bundle ($105) contains a sweatshirt with that high-spirited slogan printed on the front, two bracelets (including one that says “loved”), and an Andersonville-inspired candle by local maker Wood & Wax Co. Sent it to a friend in need; shipping is free.

In the Gold Coast, Space 519 (200 E. Chestnut St., space519.com) is offering styling sessions and shopping help via FaceTime or direct message on Instagram. Co-owner Jim Wetzel has also shared on Facebook that he’s using the downtime to get back to styling looks on mannequins. “I’ll be posting many of these going forward and sharing the thought process, designer’s intentions, garment details, and wearability,” he wrote. “Fun, right? Some much-needed eye candy, retail therapy.”

In Albany Park, Plant Shop Chicago (4601 N. Elston Ave., plantshopchicago.com) is offering delivery and curbside pickup for plants. The store’s Instagram stories are being constantly updated with plant images and prices; follow the feed here.

Top Sales This Week

While its doors are closed, Milk Handmade (5137 N. Clark St., milkhandmade.com) is offering discounts on gift cards that can be used in-store when the shop reopens. Denominations start at $25 gift cards priced at $20; they go up to $200 gift cards priced at $160.

Foursided is offering 20 percent off gift cards while its doors are closed. The cards can be delivered over email via a customized PDF, or by mail with a greeting card from the store. The cards can be used online now or redeemed in-store later.

Health & Beauty

Remix Acupuncture and Integrative Health (215 N. Aberdeen St., remixlife.style) is offering distance reiki sessions. Conducted on the phone or via videoconferencing, the sessions ($95 for 30 minutes) are described on the website as “energy medicine to create healing and support from afar.”

Zen Garage Yoga (1845 N. Milwaukee Ave., zengarageyoga.com) is livestreaming its classes so yogis can practice at home. The classes are regularly priced so the independent studio can continue to pay its teachers and staff. Check out the schedule and sign up for classes here. Drop-in classes at the studio typically cost $25.

Retail News of the Week

  • As of press time, these stores were still open in Illinois. Read more.
  • Local fashion line Zoe Goes offers eco-conscious clothing for women. Read more.
  • The costume designer for Little Fires Everywhere sourced some vintage pieces from Chicago. Read more.

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