I purchased my 90 pounds of LR
from Living Sea, but don't really buy anything else locally. I find that even with shipping, you can get much better deals online.
I did buy my fish from Petco, but only because I'm a beginner and wasn't looking for anything too exotic (just clowns & damsels currently). And Petco has decent prices on their low-end fish.
If you're patient and want to get into a reef setup, I would recommend you find other members looking to trade or sell some frags
. I did this, and it won't be long before the frags
grow big enough to compare to items the local stores sell for 10x. In fact if all continues to go well, I'll be looking to frag
and sell/trade some of my stuff in a couple months.
If your looking for show piece quality stuff and are willing to pay for it, I would suggest you look at Scott's Fish Store in the Oakbrook area, or Advanced Aquatics in Schaumburg. I haven't actually purchased from either of these places but their quality appears to be pretty good. Probably on par with Living Sea.