Best Junk Store - 2005
Isn't It Grand
Long before South Grand was deemed a "Loop," Just Pictures was a frame shop that morphed into a junk store occupying three storefronts in the block between Connecticut and Wyoming streets. Today the place has shrunk to two storefronts and changed its name to Isn't It Grand -- and it's still this town's most authentic junk store. After sneaking past the life-size gun-toting Angelina Jolie cutout guarding the door, ogle the vintage movie posters and stills (remnants of the framing days) lining the perimeter, the books and mags from every era tucked behind countless mounds of accumulated junk. Each crap mound is just small enough to encourage serious digging, and large enough to produce something of worth. They claim to put all the best stuff in the window, but the display windows are a work of art unto themselves, the visual definition of Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe. It's hard to believe something so steadfast in its dusty eccentricity still exists amid the hip ethnic glitterati of the South Grand Loop, but the warm and fuzzy kook is still there -- at least for the time being. We saw that "Business For Sale" sign; please let it be a mirage.