in the city? bit of a drive that one. I get a lot of my specialty grains/odds and ends at barley and hops in glenwood. There's also kennywood brewing in crown point, in. but their hours are horrible and the prices aren't all that great.
i think midwest supplies (online) is usually cheaper than northern brewer overall for me.
By the way, you were brewing when "beer gear" was open in tinley, next to threshold music. I know it moved to Frankfort, but do you know what happened to it after that?