Check out these unusual and inventive stores around our area.
K & W Greenery Gift Shop
1328 U.S. Hwy. 14 East, Janesville, Wis., (608) 752-8917, kwgreenery.com
This shop is presently glowing with warm autumn hues, and pilgrims and turkeys rule. But very soon, holiday whimsy will twinkle at every turn, and K & W owner Phyliss Williams can hardly wait. “We’re gardeners, so we just have to be doing something creative to make the world a little more beautiful, even in wintertime,” she says. Her family founded the high-quality greenhouse in 1972, but stepped up their gift shop effort in 2001, after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. “We all needed to really celebrate Christmas that year, to do something normal and uniquely American,” she recalls. “We’ve had a lot of fun ever since, celebrating each season of the year, in the gift shop.”
Everything in the store will be 30 percent off during the Nov. 14-16 holiday open house, indoors and out. Lose yourself in displays of holiday and home decor, artwork, candles, tableware, partyware, silk floral arrangements, wreathes, jewelry, gardening items and wildlife accessories. Step into the greenhouse to savor the scents and colors of fresh firs and houseplants like poinsettia, amaryllis, cyclamen, blooming cactus and much more. And remember, fall is a great time to plant trees and shrubs. (See related story, p. 174)
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.- 6p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.
Sirius Sunlight Glass Studio
218 High St., Mineral Point, Wis., (608) 987-2716, getsirius.com
Ever feel like you’ve lost your marbles? We know where you can find new ones. Chuck Pound has been making them from scratch for more than 27 years.
“When he started making marbles, we didn’t even know there were such things as marble collectors,” says Chuck’s partner, Jill Engels, a fifth-generation Mineral Point native. Today Chuck’s signed and dated marbles are coveted by a loyal following of about 500 marble connoisseurs, who watch for his new batches to be auctioned online. From ribbons and woodies to pinkies and Willards, the array of designs is stunning. Along with marbles, the duo makes and sells specialty art glass, stained glass, glass balls, Christmas ornaments and fanciful items like marble kaleidoscopes. Engels recently completed a custom 24-by-64-inch stained glass piece for a customer’s home. Especially at this time of year, customers also clamor for Sirius handmade, twisted 5- to 6-inch icicles for Christmas decor. You can order a chandelier of them, if you like.
Be sure to call ahead for hours. Last time we checked in, Chuck and his 85-year-old mom were on a road trip to the Black Hills.
Midway Village Museum Gift Shop
6799 Guilford Road, Rockford, (815) 397-9112, midwayvillage.com
If mass merchandise bores you, consider visiting a shop that carries items with a local connection. Maybe a sock monkey or some Rockford Red Heel socks are on your gift list, or Rockford Peaches memorabilia. “I try to bring in things that are very Rockford-focused,” says gift store manager Anna Gill. “There’s definitely an interest in Rockford nostalgia, such as T-shirts with historic business logos on them, like Geri’s Hamburgers.”
Selected pieces of vintage jewelry, glassware and art are sold, too, as well as handmade metal items crafted by the museum’s village blacksmith. The shop also sells local history books and selected works by Rockford-area authors, including children’s books. There are plenty of new items to peruse as you begin your Christmas shopping, says Gill, and your dollars help to support this gem of a museum.
Hours: Open year-round, Tues.-Fri. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and Sat. 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. May through August, the museum and store also are open Sun. from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Neighbor Antiques & Collectibles
201 N. Third St., Oregon, Ill., (815) 543-4230
Vintage treasures have a way of transporting us to other times and places, and this shop is filled with an especially beautiful selection. “I’ve always loved antiques,” says shop owner Lynn Courter.
“I think they have a soul. They connect me with good feelings about times past, when I think we felt more secure in our lives.” Courter began selling vintage items 15 years ago, after buying out a small Oregon thrift shop. She moved her business into Conover Square seven years ago, and enjoys researching each item she sells. Among her wares: furniture, toys, tableware, kitchenware, lamps, glass items, jewelry, artwork, linens, various kinds of collectibles and much more.
“These items come from an era when people took pride in their possessions and didn’t just buy things with the intention of throwing them away,” says Courter.
Hours: Thurs.-Sat. 10 a.m.-4 pm., Sun. 1-4 p.m., and by appointment.