2130 N. Damen Ave.
The concept:Furniture and home goods plus eyewear
The takeaway:This Bucktown boutique juxtaposes modern furnishings (think three-dollar-sign clean-line couches) with rustic finds like handwoven trays from Rwanda. Now add designer spectacles to that mash-up.
Why it works:Partners Steven Burgert and Anthony Almaguer previously worked in home decor and eyewear, respectively. And with a diverse global blend of labels, you’re unlikely to run into someone with the same glasses or glassware.
2. Space 519
200 E. Chestnut St.
The concept:Modern-day department store with a sit-down restaurant
The takeaway:This stylish Gold Coast shop carries fancy but not fussy gift items and women’s clothing, while the attached Lunchroom plates up avocado toast, fish tacos, and other West Coast–inspired cuisine.
Why it works:The restaurant draws a professional midday crowd — in other words, just the busy, well-to-do type that’s inclined to pick up an item on the way out.
3. MM. LaFleur
230 W. Huron St.
The concept:Women’s work wear plus a hangout lounge
The takeaway:This River North showroom caters to lady bosses by streamlining the shopping experience to a one-hour appointment. A stylist does the work while customers sip prosecco and loll in complimentary slippers.
Why it works:With a library of women-authored books and a spa-like vibe, the store leans in to everything online shopping isn’t: Instead of watching the countdown clock in your cart, you relax and wait for the next fashion show.
4. Heritage Bicycles General Store
2959 N. Lincoln Ave.
The concept:Cycling store and a café
The takeaway:Coffee and bikes get equal billing at this Instagrammable Lake View joint, where you can drink a brew from custom-roasted beans and shop for some new gear while mechanics fix your ride.
Why it works:Anywhere from 15 to 50 bikes come in daily for repairs, creating a steady stream of thirsty customers. And the view into the bike garage beats the vista at your corner Starbucks.