South Side Irish Imports was started 39 years ago on the corner of 111th and Sawyer by Linda Gorman, her mom, and her cousin. Today, the store is owned and operated by Linda and her husband Ron and is now located at 3446 W. 111th St.
The store moved to its current location in November 2001. It has 6,000 square feet of retail space, four large display windows and a side parking lot. It is probably the largest Irish Store in the Chicago area and quite possibly the U.S.
Linda attributes their success to still being a neighborhood store with a wide variety of inventory, adding new products constantly, excellent service, a great location, fair pricing and because of the great customers who have supported them throughout the last 39 years.
South Side Irish Imports has also been blessed with good, honest, hard-working, dedicated employees who provide excellent service to their customers.
“We are truly fortunate to have such a great dedicated staff working for us and for our customers,” Linda said. “They have made all the difference in our success over the years!”
The store has some exciting news to share! In order to serve their customers better, both locations have implemented a new point-of-sale system capable of scanning purchases, tracking inventory and issuing gift receipts. The new system has added speed and convenience for customers and staff.
The South Side Irish Parade has also contributed to the store’s success over the years, and the store is delighted with its return during the last eight years.
South Side Irish Imports is the official headquarters for licensed merchandise for the South Side Irish Parade. Since March 2015, the store has designed the official South Side Irish Parade T-Shirt.
The Parade Shirt for 2019 honored the Parade Grand Marshal, Honor Flight Chicago, and the Parade Honoree, Choose Kind.
A portion of the proceeds of each sale of the licensed shirts went towards offsetting the cost of the parade. In addition, South Side Irish Imports donated $1 to Honor Flight Chicago for each parade garment sold.
The store truly wishes to thank the South Side Irish Parade Committee for making the store its official parade headquarters. They would also like to thank all their customers for supporting the parade and Honor Flight Chicago.
The 2020 South Side Irish Parade Shirt is in the works! Check with the store at the end of February 2020 for details.
In March 1998, Linda and Ron expanded the store and also opened a location at 7725 W. 159th St., in Tinley Park.
Eight years ago, the 111th Street store devoted a section to religious items—The Catholic Corner.
It has Christening, Confirmation and Communion items. A large assortment of saint medals, crosses, sports medals and military medals can also be found. Rosaries (both adult and baby), statues, garden items, holy cards, scapulars, memorial items (including Irish urns), St. Joseph home-selling kits, and Catholic posters have all been greatly received.
The Tinley location also has a section devoted to religious items.
Visit the Catholic Corner for inspiration and for all your religious needs—especially during Confirmation and Communion seasons.
South Side Irish Imports is an authorized Waterford Crystal dealer. Both stores have a large display of Waterford Crystal including toasting flutes, picture frames, vases and bowls. Waterford Christmas ornaments for 2019 have arrived.
Belleek Fine Parian China has been hand crafted at the Belleek Pottery factory in Fermanagh, Ireland, since 1857. South Side Irish Imports carries a large selection of Belleek pieces including lamps, vases, marriage-blessing plates, Christening mugs and Christmas ornaments.
Belleek produced a special piece limited to production this year. The 2019 Edition Piece is the Love Knot Gift Box.
This piece has the signature of Belleek designer Claire Rowe and has been sculpted to depict the Celtic love knots that represent eternity. The mold for this collectible piece will be destroyed at year’s end. The 2019 Love Knot Gift Box is the perfect gift for any occasion.
The 111th Street Store will hold a Belleek Signing Event on Saturday, Nov. 16, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. A Belleek promotions executive will be on hand to personalize Belleek purchases made that day.
This year, Belleek is introducing “The Claddagh Wall Plaque” as the featured piece for the signing.
The piece was suggested to Belleek by South Side Irish Imports. The store has been honored to work with the Belleek factory in designing this piece. It will be introduced at the store’s signing event and added to the 2020 Belleek catalog in January 2020.
The Claddagh is the ultimate Irish symbol of love, loyalty and friendship and has reached worldwide fame.
Legend tells that a young sailor, Richard Joyce, from the fishing town of Claddagh in County Galway, was captured by pirates the week he was to marry.
As a slave, he became a master of his trade as a goldsmith. He designed a ring out of his love for his fiance: at the center, a heart symbolizing love, and on top, a crown symbolizing loyalty and two hands holding a heart symbolizing friendship.
After eight years, he escaped and discovered that his fiance had never married. He gave her the ring, and they started their lives together as man and wife.
The Claddagh Wall Plaque embodies all of the ring’s designs along with the description of its meaning. It will make the perfect Christmas gift, birthday gift, house-warming gift, engagement, wedding or anniversary gift.
At the signing event, for no additional charge, the Belleek promotions executive will personalize the Claddagh Wall Plaque on the back with one of the following suggestions: “Christmas 2019,” a Special Event with Date, or “Love and Blessings.” The Claddagh Wall Plaque retails for $40.
Advanced orders are now being taken; 50 percent down reserves personalized pieces for Christmas pick-up. Quantities are limited. Pre-orders are advised at either store.
South Side Irish Imports is an official distributor of Guinness Licensed Products. T-shirts, glassware, hats, rugby shirts are just some of the Guinness products that are available.
South Side Irish has many exclusive items. One of the most popular is a range of jewelry (shamrock and trinity necklaces) featuring the words “South Side Irish.” They are available in silver or gold-plated and are reasonably priced.
South Side Irish Imports has one of the largest selections of South Side Irish T-shirts and sweatshirts on the South Side. New T-shirts and sweatshirts will be available this fall.
The store has a new updated South Side Irish Pub T-shirt. It features many of the local pubs in the area.
Finding a gift for someone special or yourself is easy and fun. From gifts for weddings, birthdays, graduations, to Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, there’s a perfect gift in stock. South Side Irish Imports makes every holiday an Irish holiday—even Christmas!
A gift of Galway Crystal provides joy for any occasion. People can also find a large selection of both gold and silver Claddagh rings, silver Claddagh birthstone rings, jewelry, and wedding bands. Also available is a children’s line of jewelry in sterling silver.
For the home, South Side Irish Imports offers a selection of glassware, brass doorknockers and assorted brass items, plaques, Celtic crosses, pictures, Irish blessings and mugs, Irish flags and banners.
The Mt. Greenwood store also has an assortment of food items including teas, jams and biscuits.
Aran wool sweaters, wool caps, ties, scarves and capes are also available. Fashion wool sweaters have also been added and have proved to be popular.
The stores carry Irish music CDs. They also offer unique baby items, baby collectibles in Belleek China, Christening gowns, rosaries, the Magic Hanky, Celtic crosses and plaques. At Christmas, South Side Irish carries ornaments, cards, nativity scenes, Belleek and Waterford Christmas ornaments and Irish Santas.
Visit its garden section with inexpensive items for an Irish garden including planters, angel figurines, steppingstones and Celtic crosses.
For St. Patrick’s Day, there’s no better spot, as the store has party decorations and the green-lighted shamrock.
South Side Irish Imports is open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Extended hours are offered during Christmas and St. Patrick’s Day. Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express are accepted.
For more information, call the 111th Street store at (773) 881-8585 or Tinley Park at (708) 444-4747.
Visit the stores’ website at southsideirishimports.com to view many of the most popular items and find out information on store events.
Cead Mile Failte (One Hundred Thousand Welcomes) awaits you! South Side Irish Imports has served the Mt. Greenwood community for the past 39 years and hopes to continue to do so for many more to come!