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CHICAGO , After about 60 seconds I’m certain that this feels a bit like a drug deal. I was told to show up at a hardware store on a certain date and at a certain time to see “some amazing stuff” by Slav Jelesijevich, a Chicago-area tool seller who specializes in files, rasps and old tools that are “new in the box” (also called NIB). I’m there a few minutes early and so I poke around the store. It’s a very old hardware store with a full selection of tools, but not something you would drive five hours for.

Then Slav shows up and he scoots me toward the back of the store. There’s a keypad on a locked door that he has the code to (the store owners trust him implicitly). A few seconds later we are definitely down the legendary rabbit hole. The public area of the hardware store is small compared to the cavern behind and below it.


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