Check out these unusual and inventive stores around our area.
269 Main St., Dubuque, Iowa, (563) 690-4320
Named Outstanding New Retail Establishment for 2011 by Dubuque Main Street, this store represents the start of a second career for owner Paula Teig. Following her retirement from Loras College, Teig entered the retail arena with son Chris.
The store is almost two in one, as the name indicates. One side carries a selection of wines and beers, with seating arranged in conversational groupings. On the other is the chocolate shop, where gelato, made fresh on site, is served up, with flavors like peach-mango and crème brûlée. The selection of European chocolates is made by Stam, a Netherlands-based family company founded in 1913.
European chocolate differs from American by its ingredients. According to European standards, if any fat besides what comes from the cocoa bean is added to a product, it can no longer be called chocolate.
Teig also carries Stam coffees, which can be enjoyed by the cup or taken home by the bag; wine glasses and coffee mugs; cookies, seasonal items and baking products.
Hours: 8 a.m.-8 p.m., Mon.-Thurs.; Fri.-Sat. until 10:30 p.m.; Sun. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. ❚
I Love Funky’s
222 Center St., Lake Geneva, Wis., (262) 248-8474, ilovefunkys.com
Funky’s originated in Fort Atkinson, Wis., and moved to Lake Geneva in 2010. Owner Tisha Erdman began her eclectic shop because of her husband, who’s collected antiques since he was 18 years old. “Eventually, we decided we had to open a business and sell some of them,” she says.
The three stories hold a variety of merchandise, both old and new. The top floor is filled with antiques and architectural pieces. The lower floor houses a gallery of new leather furniture. And on the main floor is everything in between. Erdman goes on buying trips to New York for clothing and jewelry, and stops the car whenever she sees an estate sale or antique shop.
“I work very hard to bring in items no one has seen before,” she says. These include both new and vintage jewelry, clothing and hats, including the fascinator, made popular after the last royal wedding; gourmet candies; bath products; purses; scarves; shoes. “I just added the Redneck wine glass,” says Erdman. “It’s a canning jar mounted on a stem, and it has a lid. It’s really fun and funky.”
I Love Funky’s is open Sun.-Thurs., 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Fri.-Sat. to 6 p.m. After the holidays, check for shortened winter hours. ❚
Leaf River Quilt Co.
6679 W. Ill. Route 72, Leaf River, Ill., (815) 738-2855, leafriverquiltco.com
Karen Borneman has been interested in selling all of her life; taught by her mother, she’s been sewing since age 10, and quilting, on and off, for 30 years. In her sewing, she’s used cross-stitch, crochet and quilting techniques.
“I raised four kids, and now that they’re grown, I have time to run my own store,” she says. “I worked in another quilt shop, and that’s what helped me to decide on quilting.”
The store is on the family farm run by Borneman’s husband, Robert, in a 1,500 square-foot building next to the house. Driving west on Route 72, watch for the large white, green and blue sign adorned with a quilt square.
Borneman carries the most current patterns and fabrics, such as Hoffman batiks and Moda, sold by the yard, in bundles, charm packs or jelly rolls. She also stocks kits for projects like purses, jackets, even a cover for your Kindle or iPad, as well as notions and instruction books.
The shop is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays for classes, and she has a longarm machine for quilting customers’ projects. Hours: Wed. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Thurs.-Fri. to 4 p.m.; Sat. 9 a.m.-1 p.m.; and by appt. ❚
Roscoe Antique Mall
1019 Gardner St., South Beloit, Ill., (815) 389-8800, roscoeantiquemall.com
Owners Dennis and Gaylene Stromberg bought and restored a Victorian house and then filled it with Victorian-era antiques. They finally decided to sell some of their collection, and opened the mall 13 years ago.
More than 100 dealers rent space in the 22,000-square-foot building, and all take turns volunteering time to run it. “We’re like a big family,” says Gaylene. “Everybody gets along. Everybody works together. We know that together, we can be successful.”
Unlike similar malls, dealer turnover is low. “It’s mostly the older folks who leave, because they’re ready to quit,” says Gaylene. “We’ve had a waiting list for new dealers for years. We recently doubled our showcase capability, so we’ve been able to bring more in.”
Items range from small to large, primitive to classic: figurines; dining sets; furniture; lamps; old radios; clocks; art glass; jewelry; pottery; dinnerware; toys and games; tools.
Everything here is 1969 or earlier, to eliminate modern collectibles or crafts, and merchandise changes regularly. “We just got in some late 1800s music boxes,” Gaylene points out. “Some are wind-up, some coin-operated, and they all work. We play them every day.”
Hours: Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. to 6 p.m. ❚