Many antique and salvage dealers in town are making a big percentage of their sales via the web. But what’s sort of ironic is that the web has prompted more out-of-towners to come to Chicago to see items in person. And this whole trend caused at least one dealer, Urban Remains, to move to bigger digs. Owner Eric Nordstrom said he felt a little embarrassed bringing customers by his former cramped, crowded, and ill-lit location. So a week or so ago he took up a 3,000-square-foot space next to Post 27 at 1819 W. Grand Ave. where his inventory—including period hardware, vintage doors, medical and apothecary items, signs, and historic building terra cotta—is easier to browse. (Nordstrom is keeping his old space on Paulina as a warehouse and shipping facility for his web business.) Across the street from the new showroom is a sister store, Bldg. 51, a gallery, or sort of museum, which incorporates his personal collection of notable artifacts (some for sale, some not). He’s got pieces from the old Stock Exchange, a Frank Lloyd Wright window, ironwork from the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, a burned zinc gutter spout from the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. “Every piece I’ve either salvaged myself or I know its provenance,” he says. The showroom is open on weekends and by appointment other times; the gallery is open by appointment only.
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