Unlike the city of Chicago and some of the older suburbs places like Naperville don't seem to do a heavy trade on breads and cookies (maybe all the people are health conscience). I'm health conscience myself, but I find that everything done in moderation is fine. The breads here are all fresh baked and since I don't have the French breads to compare to yet (we'll see after my trip to Paris in October) are very good. There are a number of these stores around the Chicago area suburbs. They have different specials every day and seasonal breads like the Irish Soda Bread I bought yesterday for St Patricks Day. I almost forgot, they have free taste samples of all the day's breads and other goodies.
What to buy: The Cinnamon Swirl, Asiago Italizan Focaccia and Chedder Garlic are my favorites
What to pay: Although a bit on the expensive side compared to store bought breads. About $5 to $6 each they are fresh and freeze really well.
This is a general view of Jefferson Street in Downtown Naperville. There are several streets with many shops. An update to the types of shops will be forthcoming as I take additional pictures.
Update: July, 2012 - How soon we forget what we write. I wrote the few words above back in 2008 in the VT period I refer to now as "My Learning How to Walk and Post VT Tips" era.
I will try to post some more pictures on the main shopping street here and give you a little better idea of the number of shops, restaurants, etc on this street. I know I have at least one new picture that I took last week while at my favorite Jefferson Street store, The Apple Store.
What to buy: You name it, they probably have it.
For those of you who know me I'm not much of a shopper. A good shopping experience for me is usually to go into a store for what I'm looking for, find it and get out as fast as I can. This way I'm not tempted to buy something I probably don't need anyway and then I can save up more money for my next trip.
However, there is always the exception to the rule and the Serendipity Store is one that I will actually go in, wander about a bit and usually come out with a small purchase.
The store is not that big. In fact there are 2 crowded aisles and a little spot in the back of the store filled with a variety of clothing, children's toys, books, some paintings and various knick knacks.
Before I go into the store I check out the window displays and see if something looks interesting. There is usually something interesting there and with my last trip last week (March, 2013 as I write this tip) I'm starting to take photographs in black and white of some of the store displays.
The store is run by volunteers to the Little Friends Society in Naperville. All goods in the store are donated.
Stop in if you are in the area.
What to buy: I've purchased some clothing, books, puzzles and few other miscellaneous knick knacks!
What to pay: The most I've ever spent was about $5 for a pair of pants. Most of the time I buy things for a dollar or two.
This Apple retail store opened up in 2009 and at times it seems like a good portion of Naperville's almost 150,000 people are in it everyday. Take a look at the 2nd picture and you'll see what I mean. They are there either buying the latest Apple i gadget or attending a one on one training session or group session.
My own experience with the store has been very positive. I have bought a number of apple devices over the past few years (iMac, iPod Touch and the latest an iPad) and have been treated very well although the relatively young staff sometimes has a tendency to sometimes assume too much knowledge by the consumer.
When entering the store usually somebody greets you right away and then if you are there to buy something can help you immediately. If you are there for a class they will check you in. If you are there for a repair or question you will also get checked in. I've done all of the mentioned and each time have a very pleasant consumer experience. On my last visit I needed to buy a new power cord for my iPad. I was greeted at the door by an associate who immediately got me the product, looked up my account on his iPod Touch, swiped my credit card and emailed my receipt. Total time in the store less then 2 minutes. My type of shopping indeed.
What to buy: Again anything with the Apple i in front of the name.
I just came back from a group class on the iPod and iTunes and learned several new things. All my questions which I had stored on my iPad were answered very effectively.
What to pay: Depends on the product you buy
This is an old fashioned furniture store that is surviving the advent of Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn in downtown Naperville. It is a veritable institution.
See the website below for a picture of the store in 1927 and some Naperville memories of days gone by...
What to buy: The big overstuffed furniture isn't my style, but some of the smaller, lighter pieces have a lovely country feel.
A high-quality selection of just about anything you need for the kitchen, plus table linens, dishes and even some classy olive oils and other comestibles.
You need pastry supplies? A Moroccan tagine? A panini press? You're in the right place!
What to buy: It depends on what you need. I just bought a knife sharpener, some small paper napkins and two kitchen utensils that were on sale. That doesn't keep me from drooling over the plates and bowls and the high-end pots and pans.
What to pay: It depends on the item. I just got two kitchen utensils at 50% off -- or I could have spent many $$ on Le Creuset casseroles.
The culinary program at Sur La Table covers everything from basic knife skills, fabulous desserts, Italian comfort food and many other options including classeds for children. Most classes are "hands on"
What to pay: Classes last about 2-2 1/2 hours each and cost from $40 tp $70 US.
Penzey's opened in downtown Naperville a few years ago and made everyone happy:) The Milwaukee-based company specializes in a wide range of herbs, spices, a mixes of herbs & spices.
What to buy: Just about any herb or spice from A to Z. I am particularly fond of the ancho chili powder and the Trinidad spice blend.
What to pay: Prices are reasonable -- and you can get most items in a small jar so that you can try something out.
Chicao's is one of the chain stores that has a presence in downtown Naperville -- Chico's shares the old fire station with Lou Malnati's Pizza and the Chamber of Commerce.
What to buy: Those wonderful, comfortable patterned tops and slinky pants that roll up in your suitcase and pop out unwrinkled:)
What to pay: A lot -- the travel pants range from 58-72 USD. I always hold out for a sale.
A group of upscale shops and a tearoom occupy an old mansion on Jefferson St. It was the first local example of resuse of an older buidling.
What to buy: The shops & restaurants include The Heritage Shoppe, Jefferson Hill Tea Room, Cameo Travel, Coach House Collection, Thirty Six & Quigley's Irish Pub.
The Bookzeller sells books in a cellar!
It's a very popular place -- with used books stacked in nooks and crannies. It stays in buisiness because it offers what the chains can't -- constantly changing stock at an inexpensive price.
Anderson's has survived the advent of a Barnes & Noble 2 blocks away by providing personalised service and unique events. It also helps that there are more than enough people in downtown Naperville these days to support two bookstores:)
The shops of Main Street Promenade include Sur La Table among others. he "architecture" is designed to seem like separate old buildings. So far one store has already gone under. The jusy is still out as to whether downtown Naperville can absorb these additional stores.
Shopping in Naperville ranges from the national chains such as Pottery Barn, Talbots, Barnes & Noble, Eddie Bauer etc... to old Naperville merchants who still do a good business thanks to the traffic generated in the downtown area..
The picture is from outside Barnes & Noble -- Often someone is resting on the bench next to the statue!
I'm not a big shopper, but sometimes I like to go into downtown Naperville just to browse and periodically actually buy something. The interesting thing about downtown Naperville is that they have some name brand type stores (Eddie Bauer, Apple) and some local independent stores and they all blend together.
There is a mixture of some very old buildings (at least by U.S. standards over 100 years old) and some new construction, but again because of the planning process that our city adheres to very strictly everything does blend together very well.
On a recent January day I ventured downtown to try some black and white window shots of some of the establishments in downtown Naperville. Above are 5 of those shots I took that day. The stores were getting decked out for Valentine's Day.
What to buy: You name it you can probably buy it downtown.
What to pay: Whatever you want to spend