Established in 1903 to provide sewing supplies to the garment industry, you could say Leonard Adler & Co knows its stuff. Today, the old-school warehouse location still takes pride in being Chicago's go-to for all garment construction supplies (thousands of buttons, zippers, retail supplies, threads, and more–to give you a taste). It also has a small fabric selection, comprised of primarily menswear. The store serves as the provider of choice for several local design programs, schools, and universities (so you know it's the real deal).
|Venue name:||Leonard Adler & Company|
3018 W. Montrose Ave
|Cross street:||between N Whipple St. and N Sacramento Ave.|
|Opening hours:||Mon-Fri 9am-5pm, Sat & Sun closed|
|Transport:||El: Brown line to Francisco; Bus: 78|
|Do you own this business?|
Visited these guys in August 2017. I am a furrier from Australia, so looked for items specific to the trade. Luckily there were a few, and I spent about $200. Delighted to find the waxed thread furriers use for finishing, I haven't found elsewhere, specific fur needles, the product 'Fray Stop', so things like that which are obscure. Certainly several stocked items that I'm never going to find in Australia! So dig around, walk through the entire space they've got.
The owner is Steve, an elderly gent with a broad Chicago accent, very accommodating, isn't much mobile on his legs so I had to bring many things to his desk and check prices. I don't think he's too vigilant on making sure everything's priced. His sidekick is a nearly as old Mexican guy. Steve would ask him to go get stuff, but in a mixed version of spanish/english. Steve told me Manuel has been in the US for 45 years, but Steve's Spanish is better than Manuel's English! Still, Manuel helps Steve out by doing the fetch and carry, but mostly sits just observing from the next desk.
He has a good array of threads, large cones mostly, also good floor space dedicated to fabric rolls stacked up, loads and loads of zip stock, and then as I say he has some good handy stock that relates to the fur industry.
As I wasn't in a hurry, I sat and spoke with Steve a long time, and his history is interesting. He's seen his business go from bustling in the early years he bought it from old Leonard Adler himself, to a little quieter now. And "not so many furriers come through anymore looking for stock, as there ain't so many of em now", so he doesn't replace the fur trade stock so much.
As far as access and where the business is, I'm an Australian visiting Chi town for 2 weeks, so there's no way I'm going to drive! I took the El and got off at Francisco, then walked to the store, as it was a beautiful day! Lots of suburban homes along my walk, mums out with kids on bikes, and tree lined avenues made it delightful to walk. The building is nothing from the outside, in fact a large metal door which is shut, no visibility to inside from the street, certainly not any window display, so don't expect a shop front. But a large open space inside that big door.
Then I made my way back to the train, and back into the city centre. Really easy even with no wi-fi, just screen shots of the route and exchanges, taken before I left the apartment wi-fi area that morning.
All in all, a really nice trip.