As retail experiences go, there is nothing quite like a really good hardware store.
No doubt my affection stems, in part, from taking shop classes in junior high school. (Back in the day, junior high girls routinely attended the incorrectly named home economics classes, where economics was never mentioned, and lessons focused instead on cooking and sewing; boys attended wood shop and metal shop classes. I requested and received permission to switch to the shop classes.) I enjoy fixing things in my apartment, refinishing furniture, and generally trying to maintain a sense of self-sufficiency. I know my limits, though, and anything plumbing or electrical is out-of-bounds; MacGyver I am not.
A well stocked hardware store is a thing of beauty. Part general store, part fix-it heaven, it is packed to the gills with all kinds of specialty items most people never knew they needed until something breaks and panic sets in. Fortunately for Evanstonians, we have such a store in our midst, the Lemoi Ace Hardware Store on Davis Street. Hyper-organized, it contains thousands of items, and best of all, an incredibly helpful group of staffers who proactively ask how they can help you. I have been there with everything from detailed lists to vague descriptions, and each time I leave with an item, a suggestion, and a smile. They also have a serious selection of duct tape!
Location: 1009 Davis Street between Oak and Maple Avenues, and a short walk from the Main Street stops on both the CTA and Metra lines. Open every day: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sundays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.