I'm starting to pick up a few items for the Colossus project, and I really do enjoy picking up my parts locally if possible. I know I can get a better deal on parts by mail order or on sites like eBay or Aliexpress, but by picking up my parts from local vendors--I support my local economy/businesses and they help me out when I need a part in a pinch--rather than waiting half a month for something to ship from China.
So here's a breakdown of 3 awesome local stores to get parts for your projects:
AxMan Surplus www.ax-man.com/
AxMan is a great local surplus store, and parts do vary by location--my favorite local to search for electronic parts is the St. Paul location:St. Paul
1639 University Ave.
Mon-Fri 9am to 7pm
Sat 9am to 6pm
Sun Noon to 5pm
MicroCenter has really expanded their DIY/Hobbyist Electronics/Maker section--so much so that it has now overtaken the Gaming section of their store. They may not have the latest/greatest controllers/etc..., and finding a specific board can be like looking for a needle in a haystack because of the lack of display organization, but it's really awesome finding some one in the Twin Cities that still carries a few different microcontrollers and Arduino Shields:Twin Cities/St. Louis Park
3710 Highway 100 South
St. Louis Park, MN 55416
Mon - Sat 10 to 9, Sun 11 to 6
Acme Electronics Inc. (AEI Electronic Parts) http://www.aeielectroniccenter.com/
Acme is a great store to find Kester Solder, soldering supplies, Weller Micro Tips, Switches, Relays, Resisters, etc... They really distribute a lot of interesting components--just don't judge them by their website--it'stuck in 1999:
6020 Olson Memorial Highway (Highway 55)
Golden Valley, MN 55422