Check out these unusual and inventive stores around our area.
N2460 County Road O, Delavan, Wis., (262) 740-0052, everythinghomespun.com
Located inside a restored barn, this unique store has become the anchor for the specialty shops at this roadside destination. The 5,000-square-foot space is filled with repurposed and refinished primative and country decor and gifts, all done by the owners. “We’re the whole show,” says Ellen Dean, who runs the business with husband Jerry.
The pair began in Walworth and moved to their current location 3.5 years ago. “We’ve always loved antiques and primatives, and we love people. Put those things together, and you get a shop.”
The Deans started out in the lower level and expanded upstairs, and their business has continued to grow steadily. The natural wood, soft lighting and soft music provide a homey atmosphere.
“We wanted to create a true shopping experience,” Dean says. “Everything today is so loud, crowded and impersonal. So we don’t have flourescant lighting, and we have an area called the Resting Room, where shoppers can sit down and relax, and have complimentary snacks and soda or coffee.”
Items include handprinted wooden signs, refinished furniture, handmade soft-sculpture figures, vintage lamps, kitchen items and more.
“We also have rustic and woodsy items for cabins and cottages,” says Dean.
Hours: Daily 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
East State Antique Mall
5411 E. State St., Rockford, Ill., (815) 229-4004, eaststateantiquemall.com
This longtime Rockford shopping destination continues to offer visitors a glimpse into the past. Purchased last year by Bill Driver and Terri Anderson, the store’s 20,000 square feet hold antiques, collectibles and vintage items from 125 different dealers.
“Of what’s on the floor, I’d say about 75 percent is antique and 25 percent collectibles,” says Anderson. “An antique is at least 100 years old. Collectibles are items from 1979 on, and those are all in one section. We have a little bit of everything.”
Find porcelain figurines, dinnerware, decorative plates, art glass and pottery, estate jewelry, pocket and wristwatches, dolls and toys, Linens and textiles, postcards and posters, artwork, dining sets, bedroom suites, highboys, barrister bookcases, fainting couches, occasional tables, chairs, tools, war memorabilia – and lots more.
“Furniture and jewelry are most in demand, followed by Boomer things like collectible lunchboxes, sports memorabilia, comics, Christmas decorations,” says Anderson. “Sales are great, but we have a lot of people who come in just to look. They say it’s like taking a trip back to their childhoods. One regular browser says we ought to charge admission.”
The mall is open daily, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., with shorter hours on the Fourth of July, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve and Day. “We only close on Christmas Day and Easter Sunday,” Anderson says.
The Red Barn
9426 W. Wagner Road, Lena, Ill., (815) 369-5322
This shop is part of a trifecta of reasons to visit the round red barn just off Highway 20 and Galena Road. (The other two-thirds are The Rafters restaurant and bar, and The Mill, a home furnishings showroom, all run by proprietors Gary and Sylvia Vehmeier.)
Shoppers will find a variety of fun and uncommon home decor and gift items, gourmet foods and mixes, kitchen items, women’s accessories and more. Gourmet packaged foods include things like mixes for cheese balls, muffins, and dip, from makers such as Wind & Willow, Stonewall Kitchen and Sweet Seasons. Some of the foods are available for sampling. Choose from gourmet coffees, 24 varieties of craft beers (mix and match), and a variety of wines.
Find women’s scarves, Charles Viancin silicone lids, kitchen linens, candles, specialty gift baskets, seasonal gifts and more.
Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
The Vintage Cupboard
201 N. 3rd St., Ste. 10, Oregon, Ill., (815) 732-7100, thevintagecupboard.com
ocated inside historical Conover Square, this store offers a relaxing shopping experience.
“We wanted a cozy, welcoming atmosphere,” says Michael Grasso, co-owner with wife Shari Krate-Grasso. They began with a booth in a local antique mall and moved about two-and-a-half years ago.
“My wife always wanted to have her own store, and the timing was right,” Grasso says. “We started with 300 square feet, and now we have 1,600.”
In addition to vintage collectibles, the couple sells Shari’s own homemade candles. “Space for my wife’s candles was a big reason we wanted our own store,” Grasso says. “They’re very popular.”
Many vintage items here are for the kitchen, including hand potato mashers, vegetable crates, tobacco jars and labels. The Grassos also stock new, vintage-inspired items like wind-up tin toys. About 40 percent of the store is rented to dealers who bring in mid-century items like board games, diecast cars and collectible lunch boxes.
The Coca-Cola item pictured above is actually a telephone.
“The building is filled with great shops, and we encourage shopping local and supporting local businesses,” Grasso says.
Hours: Thurs.-Wed. & Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. noon-4 p.m.