Northwest Quarterly

Nooks & Crannies, Spring 2012

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Check out these unusual and inventive stores around our area.

Norton's USA, Barrington

Norton’s U.S.A.

400 Lageschulte St., Barrington, (847) 382-8872, nortonsusa.com

This “Uniquely American General Store,” as owner Deborah Leydig describes it, carries nothing but products made in the U.S.A. – not such an easy goal nowadays. But Leydig is gaining ground. Norton’s will celebrate it fifth anniversary in June, and in that time, the number of vendors has swelled from 20 to 380.

“Every time we make a sale, I tell the customer, ‘You’re helping 380 American businesses keep their doors open,’” Leydig says.

Merchandise categories include soaps, lotions and bath products; clothing for men, women, babies and children; paper goods, including Leydig’s own hand-screened wrapping paper; housewares; toys; cleaning products; home goods, including furniture; tools, hardware and garden items; and jewelry.

A professional actress, Leydig was inspired to open the store while researching her role as Barbara Ehrenreich in a stage adaptation of Nickel And Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America, at Steppenwolf in Chicago in 2003. “I became angry about how many jobs were being lost overseas,” she says.

Located in a 1900-era livery barn, Norton’s is named for Leydig’s dog, now gone, a shepherd/terrier mix. “Norton was a unique pet, and the store is unique, so it just fit,” she says.

Hours: Tues.-Wed., Fri.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thu., 11 a.m.-7 p.m.