SOUTH SHORE — With educational toys for the kids, wines and wine-beer hybrids for the adults and snazzy clothes for anyone with fashion sense, all the holiday gifts you need are available in Hyde Park, Woodlawn, South Shore and South Chicago.
The Bike Clinic’s one-man operation offers a selection of bikes and parts alongside a knowledgable repair service, while Black American and African fashions are available from Bernard’s Wear and Kayra Imports.
Block Club rounded up a few gift options along the south lakefront to help residents shop local.
Here’s what you can buy:
Toys Et Cetera, 1502 E. 55th St. Website.
“The Polar Express” taught us well — it’s the youth who feel the holiday spirit the strongest. Toys Et Cetera, in the Hyde Park Shopping Center, can contribute to their sense of surprise and joy with gifts for kids of all ages.
Manon K ($29.99) can be a baby’s first plushy friend, who they’ll keep in their memory box once they’re grown — and she’s worn from years of love. For older kids, a nursery bus ($27.99) can instill a love of public transit, while a lap harp ($44.99) lets them play and improvise songs.
Hundreds of toys, most with ties to education or social-emotional learning, are available at this store, which celebrated 45 years of operation this year.
Toys Et Cetera is open 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays, with online shopping and in-store pickup options. 773-324-6039.
57th Street Wines, 1448 E. 57th St. Website.
57th Street Wines is as straightforward a name as it gets. You visit 57th Street and you get wine. Simple.
The shop’s selection? Not so simple. Whites, reds, oranges and sakes; products from well-known regions like Champagne and Tuscany, and lesser-known points of origin like Armenia and the Balkans; and fortified wines like ports and sherries are all on the shelves.
Despite the store’s name, other adult beverages are available. Because of the store’s name, those beverages include a beer brewed in the style of a cabernet sauvignon and rosé ($19).
Kayra Imports, 1001 E. 53rd St. Website.
At Kayra Imports on the west end of the 53rd Street strip, African print fabric is sold by the yard, or fashion designers can work with staffers to create custom clothing. Pre-made dresses, agbada sets crafted in Ghana ($225) and jumpsuits are also available.
Matching masks and head wraps ($25) ensure you’re catching your neighbors’ eyes while keeping them safe from coronavirus. Whipped shea butter ($12) comes in scents like frankincense and Egyptian amber, while an array of black soaps are available for $3-$10.
Elsewhere on the South Side, Kayra has storefronts at 1643 E. 87th St. in Calumet Heights and 706 E. 83rd St. in Chatham.
Frontline Books and Kultural Emporium, 6357 S. Cottage Grove Ave. Website.
Frontline Books‘ Woodlawn store isn’t in immediate danger of closing, like its Hyde Park location was earlier this year. Still, the bookstore on Cottage Grove is “trying to keep its head above water,” founder Sekou Tafari said — and you can help it do so while educating your loved ones.
The shop offers books on Pan-Africanism, Black history and metaphysics. “The Egyptian Philosophers” ($20.65) pushes back on Eurocentric histories with profiles of 11 African scholars, while “The Holy Herb” ($21.99) — published by Frontline and featuring a preface written by Tafari — explores marijuana’s spiritual and social uses through history.
Local vendors will offer goods at a holiday pop-up shop noon-6:30 p.m. Dec. 11, selling art, organic cosmetics, home decor and personal care items at the bookstore.
The Bike Clinic, 2221 E. 71st St.
What gift could be more valuable than freedom of movement? With a new or used bike, or the completion of a long-needed repair, that’s exactly what you can give someone this holiday season through the Bike Clinic.
Road, hybrid and mountain bikes are on sale, or you can get an existing ride into shape with an off-season tune-up ($50) so it’s ready for those long treks in warmer months.
Parts like inner tubes ($10) and Sunlite road and trail tires (about $25 each) for handy cyclists are also available. The shop is small, so it’s best to call ahead and inquire about what’s on hand.
Once you’ve bought or repaired a bike, encourage your loved one to use it on the newly installed 71st Street bike lanes in front of the store, which are set to be extended alongside 100 miles of new and upgraded bikeways by the end of 2022.
One South Side reporter required the Bike Clinic’s services six times in 2021, including a trip for a tire replacement after a botched do-it-yourself job, an anonymous source said.
The Bike Clinic is open noon-6 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday through fall and winter. 773-955-2028.
Bernard’s Wear, 9017 S. Commercial Ave. Website.
Bernard Shannon’s shop is “the Stepper’s Store,” perhaps best known as a purveyor of hats and for its commitment to the Chicago steppin’ lifestyle.
Bernard’s Wear offers “Borsalinos, Valentinos, Stetsons and Dobbs,” alongside coats, suits and other high-quality clothing that can “last you a lifetime,” Shannon said. Coats and suits are also available, with the store’s inventory priced $69.99-$700. Shoppers must visit the store for pricing on specific items — “you don’t know until you come in,” Shannon said.
With a tagline like “all men are created equal until they get dressed,” you can expect the finest wear from Bernard’s. Beyond buying clothes, shoppers are supporting a tradition of steppin’ which traces back to the Lindy Hop nearly a century ago and has evolved into a uniquely Chicago art form.
Bernard’s Wear is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and noon-3 p.m. Sunday. 773-375-9708. Facebook.
Did we miss your favorite neighborhood spot? Not to worry! Add it to our Block Club reader guide, which will come out in early December.
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