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Limited Access

A study in patience.

 There’s a tiny store on Dempster Street called .  It only opens for a fraction of the year, then closes while the owners collect more clothing, jewelry and accessories for the next season. 

The sign in the window, which previously stated Open April 2, now reads Open April 9.  Surely, devotees of the shop can be heard uttering phrases like, “Aw, seriously?”, “Just a few more days,” and “It’s always worth the wait.” 

There’s just something charming, unusual and impressive about businesses that set their own unique hours yet maintain strong customer followings.  Evanston’s got quite a few of them, including Edzo’s Burger Shop.  Hmmm ... both business names end with the word "shop."  Coincidence? 

These days, consumers around the country can walk into more and more grocery stores guaranteed to be open until midnight or later.  More fast food drive-thru lanes promise to stay Open Late!  Chain bookstores (at least the ones still in business) tend to keep the lights on till 9 p.m. or later.  Can’t get away from work to see the doctor or dentist?  No problem – book an appointment at 7 a.m. or after 6 – extended hours give you more flexibility.  Instead of walking to the video rental store, just order your favorite movie now through your cable box or online.  In fact, just open your web browser … every “store” there is open 24/7.  

When’s the last time you saw a handwritten sign on a shopkeeper’s door that read, “Back In Five.”  If you did see a sign like that, admit it: how frustrated were you?  Did you think (or shout) something like, “Who closes in the middle of the day?  Who do they think they are?  Their posted hours are right here!”

These days, with seemingly unlimited access to everything, it’s startling (and refreshing) to see businesses buck the trend and set unconventional, limited hours.

I’ll admit: I was planning to poke my head into before our family’s spring break trip to -- of all places -- Mexico.  Browsing around The Mexican Shop when it first opens is the Evanston shopper’s equivalent of baseball’s opening day.  Whether it’s for a cute pair of earrings, a scarf, a cute set of cheater glasses … it’s a declaration of spring’s welcome arrival.  This year, however, I’ll be gone when the shop opens, so my visit will have to wait.  And that’s okay. 

As I write this article I'm sitting at O’Hare Airport with my family, waiting to board our flight to Mexico. I refuse to pay for access to the airport’s wi-fi system.  Despite the fact we have a) my laptop, b) my husband’s work-issued iPad, c) my teenage son’s freakish knowledge of technology and d) a world wide web that never closes, I’ll (ironically) file this post about limited access once I figure out how to use the free wi-fi at the house we’re renting in Mexico.     

How’s that for patience?

Jill Greenman April 06, 2011 at 04:14 AM
Love the Mexican Shop. Have been shopping there since junior high school. Used to take the el down from Highland Park and bum around Evanston on many a saturday. Other than moving to a larger space the store has not changed in 30 years!!
victoria smith August 28, 2011 at 02:00 PM
Love the Mexican shop too! Have been going there for 30 years! Even my teenage sons like going in there. They have just the coolest trinkets to buy for just about any occassion.It's always nice to go in there and have the owners welcome you by name, find you exactly what you are looking for and have a conversation before you walk out the door. Glad that they have survived all the ups and downs of our ecconomy. Looking for a great handbag? Check them out!

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