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Four blocks from my house on the north side of Chicago is an independent toy store that has bailed me out with a last-minute birthday gift more than a few times. The knowledgeable proprietors peddle geodes to German-engineered wind-up trains, bug-collection kits to theatrical costumes. Perhaps more important than their inventory, they've kept alive that elusive remnant of the retail experience—service. They gift wrap for free year-round.

"Indie shopping" is a conscientious effort to patronize independents, or locally owned businesses, over chain stores when it's possible to do so. "Buy Local" campaigns draw the support of like-minded citizens and community groups, particularly as businesses and consumers continue their slow crawl from recession. The pro-indie argument usually centers on community benefits, from social interaction to tax revenues. There's an impact on the wallet as well. Keep reading via US News


 





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