This is jim giving a short (nope: the plan was a short one) update on our trip. Took train, arrived Chicago, dropped bags off at the hotel, and started exploring. Went to about 6 or 7 places, and for the most part we were treated great, with a couple of exceptions. (Note to that of couple store owners: If your sales people, or you, can't look up from the counter to acknowledge people entering the store, or say hi, or if you are on the phone just mouth the words like "be right with you", then what in the #uck are you doing in the retail business? Just imagine for a second how many of your potential customers walked out the door with the same amount of money they walked in with.)
Anyhow... I say to Wendy "This is getting depressing. We can't be the only ones looking for heavy duty stuff." I can tell she is getting tired, and disappointed too. "Maybe the next one" she responds. So we walk up toward the "next place" and there is a man standing there on the sidewalk in front of the store. I glance at the window display and back at him and say "This must be the place."
And he put out his hand and said: "Hi, I'm Paul C."
And into the store we went. Pardon my all caps typing but, THIS IS THE WAY IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE FOLKS. We were treated like family, yeah pervy family, but family. Paul answered all our questions plus gave us new ones, made suggestions, showed us photograph albums of his work, and helped Wendy try on the things she liked and told us how things should fit. I will never forget the look on Wendys face when he took the straitjacket she was looking at down off display, unbuckled it, held it open for her arms to slide in and then said "Madame?" She wore it around the store for the next half hour as we shopped, with the exception of a few minutes she was in front of the store on Clark St wearing it while Paul showed us a corset in the front window.
One of the things he said that caught our attention was "You are only fettered by your imagination. If you can dream it, I can make it." We have no doubt that this man can, because we have seen what he has done. We have started a "wish for" file and he will be the man we will want to make the items.
I just asked Wendy "do you remember how long we were there?" "We got there at 5:30 and left at 7:15." And we left very happy.
Best shopping experience, perv or 'nilla, that we have had in a very long time. We will absolutely, positively be back.