... but in theory one of the good things about cities is that things are located close together, often even within walking distance of each other. Perhaps one of those things would be my home, and another would be a music store. Where I grew up, in the suburb of Elmhurst, Luscombe's Music was a quick walk from my house. There I took lessons, picked up supplies, and sent my clarinet for repair.
Now in the great city of Chicago, when I needed dulcimer strings today, the closest promising suggestion from Google and the yellow pages was the Old Town School of Folk Music in Lincoln Park. Turns out they didn't have any in stock. The "Lincoln Square" location did, according to the dude there. I remembered some guitar stores listed along North Avenue, but at that point didn't want to risk their not being open or not carrying dulcimer strings. So I biked on up, and then back home. Almost 18 miles of biking, nine times my round-trip distance back in Elmhurst.
Meanwhile, it appears the place people go for woodwind repair is in Skokie. I've been there, actually; it was also the only place I could find that carried cork grease.
Now, to be fair, it wasn't this hard when I lived on the north side. I was about a mile and a half from Lincoln Square. Anyway, one lead I saw on Google Maps that didn't really look promising was near McKinley Park in an industrial area. I checked it out anyway, and I'm glad I did. At 3636 S. Iron St. (there's also a Coal St. somewhere around there) there is a complex called "Iron Studios". Rehearsal spaces for bands, studios, and what looks to be a fledgling gym, tucked in among old industrial buildings. The listing was probably for a luthier. If I ever need a rehearsal space I'll keep the place in mind. On that ride I also chased a lead which appeared to be an obsolete listing for a store in the former Music Mart. RIP, Music Mart. So that was another 11 miles of travel searching for music supplies.
For all that, coming across Iron Studios was worth the 29 miles of riding around looking for dulcimer strings. You'd have to have been there...