Today's weather called for a high of 9 and clouds. The temperature actually surged to 18, and it was sunny. The heat wave deceived me a bit. I spent about an hour and a half outside today, and 18 is damn cold.
The update to this story is that I've enjoyed MooseJaw more lately, especially online. Uncle Dan's is now in Lakeview, and Acronym is coming to Lincoln Park.
November 22, 2006 -- City dwellers in Chicago face a scarcity of outdoors-y retailers and outfitters. Flagstaff, Boulder, Asheville this is not. Chicago outposts include a Patagonia store, Erehwon Mountain Outfitters, Uncle Dan's and MooseJaw. That may seem like a lot, but the market has turned over in the past five years. Patagonia is new, and Erehwon has moved around and shuttered other stores. Perhaps Erehwon comes closest to fulfilling all of my expectations of an outfitter. Uncle Dan's and MooseJaw are nice but small. Patagonia is really a clothing shop for middle-aged men more than an outfitter.
There's a national chain, let's call it Acronym, that does have a location near the city but disappoints every time I visit. I like Acronym in general and prefer to spend there because it offers cash back on every purchase (I signed up for this program in late 2005). But this location is so abysmal that I can't stomach making the 30-minute ride again. The store is housed in an aging shopping center that also includes Jewel, Books-A-Million, Jo-Ann Fabrics and a Secretary of State's Office. Acronym is in a low-slung space without much character. This location doesn't carry a complete line of Acronym equipment as I discovered when I asked about cross country skis. Sadly, Acronym is going to push me even farther away soon--the inner-ring location is closing in a few months and moving to Northbrook, on the Cook County-Lake County border.
More to come in future months on the results of a full year of purchasing at Acronym.