Located inside of an old church at 103rd and Western and loaded with a wide array of quirky giftables, Haven 1890 is a the kind of shop you’ll need several hours to peruse. Credit: Crystal Paul/Block Club Chicago

BEVERLY — If you know where to look, there are many local gems tucked away amid the chains and big-box stores on the major thoroughfares surrounding the far South Side neighborhoods of Beverly, Morgan Park and Mount Greenwood. 

The past few years have seen some exciting new businesses in the area, including a group of shops and services located in an old church off of Western Avenue, a new shop catering to men and those looking for masculine-inspired apparel, and a crafting and knitting shop that is one of the few such resources on the South Side.

You don’t have to buy one of Haven 1890’s ‘60643’ ZIP code pillows to show your support for the neighborhood, but what better way to show your appreciation for your loved ones and your community this holiday season than with a unique gift that also supports local Far South Side businesses?

These local shops, galleries and cafes boast options for everyone on your list — comic books for the geeky teenager in your life, coffee and a playdate for the new mom and baby, or original artwork for your favorite aesthete. 

Here’s where you can shop:

Located inside of an old church at 103rd and Western and loaded with a wide array of quirky giftables, Haven 1890 is a the kind of shop you’ll need several hours to peruse. Credit: Crystal Paul/Block Club Chicago


Haven 1890, 2501 W. 103rd St. Website.

Haven 1890 is the kind of store you’ll want plenty of time to peruse. Tastefully tucked into every nook and cranny are quirky (and sometimes hilarious) little treasures. There’s an entire shelf of giftables dedicated to honoring the teacher in your life, for example: a set of golden apple earrings or perhaps a keepsake book for teachers to record their favorite school year memories. 

This is the store to go to when you’re not quite sure what to get for someone. You’ll either leave with your bags full of gifts sure to make your family and friends laugh – like a “Favorite Child” candle hilariously advertised as smelling “like mom loves me the most. Oh you didn’t get a candle?” 

But it’s not all knickknacks and stocking stuffers. The kids’ section carries a wide variety of toys and play kits and even some cute holiday outfits. You can find gorgeous holiday and home decor, jewelry and fashion items. And if you spot something you’d like for yourself, you can add it to a wish list that they’ll keep at the checkout desk for you. 

If you’re feeling ambitious, you can make a whole afternoon out of a trip to 1890 Haven. It’s located in an old church at 103rd and Western along with a handful of other shops – including The Studio Beverly yoga studio, which offers childcare and youth classes for the whole family.

Open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sundays. 708-793-7420.

A little shop with a big personality, Emilia Gray features clothing that is quietly bold. Credit: Crystal Paul/Block Club Chicago

Emilia Gray, 2501 W. 103rd St. Website.

Also located in the church at 103rd and Western, Emilia Gray is a small women’s clothing store with a big personality.  

Here you’ll find the type of high-quality fashion items that make you look twice. A lacy, flowing black dress might catch the eye of Wednesday Addams. Among the soft oversized sweaters in bright colors, one offers a peek of leopard print inside the sleeve. That’s the vibe of much of the fashion here – bold without the need to be showy. 

The store will host a “Six Days of Christmas” event featuring specials Dec. 5-10. 

Open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sundays. 224-391-5146.

Ancestry Moon Art Studio & Gallery, 10338 S. Western Ave. Facebook.

On a walk up Western Avenue, you might notice a window full of splashes of bright color beckoning you from the drab busy avenue. That’s how many people discover the Ancestry Moon Art Studio at 103rd and Western. The brilliantly colored paintings in the windows seem to practically illuminate the studio, and you can’t resist peeking in.

The studio is a community hub, hosting summer and after-school arts classes for youth, paint-and-sip sessions for adults, Mommy-and-me and couples painting workshops and even arts education classes and field trips. Set up a paint-and-sip for your favorite aspiring artist, buy or commission a painting to add pizzazz to an art appreciator’s home, or be bold and paint your own under the instruction of studio owner/artist Salima Cobb-Collins.

Open 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesdays, 9 a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays and 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays. 312-956-5965.

Bookie’s in Beverly. Credit: Ariel Parrella-Aureli

Bookie’s, 10324 S. Western Ave. Website.

Whether you live in the area or are just visiting, you have to make a stop at Bookie’s, the neighborhood’s small but mighty independent bookstore. Its curated selection spans two rooms, featuring both used and new books from every genre and highlighting local authors.

If you’re not sure what your literary-minded giftee likes to read, Bookie’s has a collection of fun literary-themed goodies that any bibliophile would love, including journals, puzzles, board games and coasters with classic book covers.

Open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon-6 p.m. Sundays. 773-239-1110.

Cardinalis Cardinalis, 9915 S. Walden Parkway. Website.

Cardinalis Cardinalis is owner Keith Lewis’s answer to all those memes of men looking bored while shopping with the women in their lives. Cardinalis, which opened on 99th street just this year, offers a haven for those who prefer a more masculine touch to their fashion and personal care products. The shop carries shaving products, journals, masculine fashion and scents, books and more.

Whether you’re shopping for a dapper cousin with immaculately tended facial hair or a friend who simply prefers to write with a pen named for Nikolas Tesla, Cardinalis Cardinalis is a store for those who may not find what they’re looking for in the traditional outlet. 

Open 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Saturdays. 773-991-4111.

Oleander & Artesian, 9911 S. Walden Parkway, Website

At Oleander & Artesian in Beverly, it’s truly a family affair. Mom creates the beautiful watercolors, one sister creates leather goods and the other curates the shop’s many gift-worthy offerings, including bespoke ceramic servers (locally sourced, starting at $38) and watercolor prints of neighborhood gems in Beverly and Morgan Park ($20)

The cozy South Side store also has vases, throw blankets, hand-woven pillows, art and more.

Open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Thursday 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.- 5 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. Closed Monday. 773-661-7131

Miss Purl, 1824 W. 95th St. Website.

For the crafter in your life, Miss Purl has hand-dyed yarns, knitting and crochet workshops, and weekly meet-ups with fellow crafters. 

If you are the crafter in your life, Miss Purl has fine yarns in whatever colors you need for all your holiday gifting projects. Stop in for a meet-up for some inspiration or just camaraderie with other crafters. 

If you have friends and family who’ve always wanted to learn their way around a crochet needle, a Miss Purl gift card will buy them a course or two. You can reap the rewards when they knit you a blanket as thanks. 

Open 2-7 p.m. Thursdays, noon-7 p.m. Friday-Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sundays. 312-513-6464.

Owner Kamaca Champion opened Miss Purl to bring knitting and crafting resources and community to the South Side. Credit: Courtesy of Kamaca Champion

Morgan Park

Little Hoppers Cafe, 2760 W. 111th St. Website.

If you’ve ever asked the parents of young kids what they want for the holidays, you’ve probably been greeted by nervous laughter and exhausted expressions as they not-so-jokingly request “sleep.” 

While you might not be able to wrap up a giant box of sleep for them, you can get them some coffee and a bit of a break. Little Hoppers Cafe in Morgan Park is where a parent’s need for caffeination and a kid’s need to run around in a room full of toys happily meet. 

The owners are parents of young children themselves, so they know what they’re doing. Plus, they serve coffee from Menkeshkesh Coffee Roasters, run by a local mom.

Kids can play safely in the cafe’s play area – curated to meet the needs and interests of kids from infants to 7 years old – while parents can supervise within viewing distance with a warm cuppa. Families with little ones can get the whole crew together and book a private playdate. 

The play cafe offers gift cards and play passes that include a drink from the cafe. 

Open 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. 708-268-8014.

Alternate Reality Comics has offered a 15 percent discount on all new comics every day since it first opened in Mount Greenwood in 1994. Credit: Courtesy of Alternate Reality Comics

Mt. Greenwood 

Alternate Reality Comics, 3149 W. 111th St. Website.

Entering Alternate Reality Comics actually feels like walking into another world or, rather, going back in time to the days when comic book nerds haunted the too-narrow aisles of comic shops stuffed wall-to-wall with comics of every genre. 

The shop has called Mt. Greenwood home since 1994 — and has offered 15 percent off all new comic books since then — though its roots go back to 1978.

Whether you’re a long-time comic book geek or looking to get your superhero fix between Marvel movies, Alternate Reality Comics has something for you. There is an entire corner full of child-appropriate comic books and graphic novels for the youngest geeks-in-training.

Open 2-7 p.m. Tuesdays, 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Wednesdays, noon-6 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sundays. 773-881-4376.

Second Chance Thrift Shoppe, 10444 S. Kedzie Ave. Website.

Looking for a deal and a good cause? All profits from Second Chance Thrift Shoppe support adults with intellectual disabilities. At the shop, volunteers with and without intellectual disabilities work together. 

The store has a nicely curated selection of jewelry, toys, clothes, artwork, books and home decor. It’s a great choice for the do-gooder in your life or the thrift shopper who loves discovering (and sometimes bragging about) unique finds.  

If you don’t find what you’re looking for here, you can always keep the store in mind for donating some of the holiday gifts that didn’t quite hit the mark.

Second Chance will have a super sale and host a free photos with Santa event on Nov. 25.

Open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. 773-941-4481.

Soothe Our Souls Offers luxury loungewear designed to take the stress out of your day. Credit: Courtesy Jenny Grimm

Soothe Our Souls (S.O.S PJs) Website, Instagram

Here’s a gift theme that never gets old: Treat yourself. Or, in the case of the holidays, yourself and someone else! Get your comfy with luxury loungewear designed to relax at Soothe Our Souls (S.O.S.). Established when the owner was 50-year-old, S.O.S. was founded after a life-changing girls trip to India. Now, the company supports a co-op in India that provides free sewing lessons to homeless women. 

Indulge in silky smooth cotton pajamas for $152 or a luscious velvet robe for $244. Or, check out the shop’s block-printed table cloths, napkins and children’s pajama sets. Notice that your package will arrive in a fashionable, eco-friendly envelope that can also be used as a clutch, a pillow, a travel bag and more.


Previous guides:

Do you want your business added to our gift guide? Sponsored spots are still available! Email zack@blockclubchi.org for more information.

Help Block Club Get
500 More Subscribers!

Subscribe to Block Club now and you’ll get a free 16-by-20-inch Chicago neighborhood print of your choice, helping us reach our goal of getting 500 more subscribers before 2024. Click here to subscribe or click here to gift a subscription.

Listen to the Block Club Chicago podcast: