Check out these unusual and inventive stores around our area.
Roscoe Antique Mall
1019 Gardner St., South Beloit, Ill. (815) 389-8800, roscoeantiquemall.com
Ted London says Roscoe Antique Mall is not your normal antique store.
“This place is like a museum,” says London, who co-owns the facility with wife Gaylene Stomberg. “This mall is filled with items that are historic, unusual and unique.”
Roscoe Antique Mall has a worldwide reputation for it’s large antique selection that is beautifully displayed in a 22,000 square-foot building.
The array of pre-1969 items is impressive and easy to view, whichever direction you look. The mall hosts about 100 vendors, who spend time seeking out merchandise to provide an ever-changing inventory for customers.
Trends are always changing, and the mall aims to display items that are currently popular, such as early coin-operated machines, advertising items and petroliana. Customers will always find a large selection of furniture and lighting, toys, jewelry, clocks, pottery, glassware, military items, art and unusual mid-century retro items.
London and his wife travel all over the country seeking out unique items that help to set their mall apart from others.
“We have buyers from every state in the union and from countries all over the world,” he says.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, October-May and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. June-September. It’s only closed Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter.
Monroe Arts Center Gift Shop
1315 11th St., Monroe, Wis., (608) 325-5700, monroeartscenter.com
Monroe Arts Center guests can own a piece of artwork from their favorite local artists.
That’s because the MAC has opened up a gift shop, on its main floor, that features one-of-a-kind pieces. Paintings, jewelry, notecards, hats and gloves are among items available for purchase.
“It’s a nice addition to the gallery and it gives artists another chance to showcase their work,” says Sue Barrett, co-director of the Monroe Art Center Gallery. “It also gives local community members a chance to purchase art on a regular basis.”
Shortly after a new addition to the MAC was completed in 2016, the gift shop opened.
Because of the number of artists who visit MAC throughout the year, the items in the store are constantly rotated.
Some of the artists who showcase their work come from the region and some come from surrounding states.
“You wont find any of this art in other stores, because these pieces come straight from the artist and they’re one of a kind,” Barrett says.
Hours: Tues.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and during special events.
Needles Quilting and Yarns
430 N. Lincoln Hwy., Rochelle, Ill., (815) 384-2107, needlesrochelle.com
There are some stores that only offer yarn supplies and others that only offer items for quilting.
Needles Quilting and Yarns is a full-service yarn and quilt shop that offers the best of both worlds.
Mother-daughter team Sandy Soderbloom and Rebecca Ladd opened the quaint store five years ago.
“We both have a passion for quilting and yarns,” Soderbloom says. “Rebecca is a self-taught knitter and I’m a self-taught quilter.”
The business carries everything you need for your project, including yarn, fabrics and patterns.
“We focus on our two passions, but we also specialize in more than most quilt or yarn shops,” Soderblom says.
One of those specialties is long-arm quilting.
“You make the top and the quilting holds it together,” Ladd says. “We’re able to do computerized design and you can personalize your quilts anyway you want.”
The duo also offers classes customized to your schedule and skill level.
If you’re looking for project ideas or to connect with other crafters, visit Needles’ website to see its selection of quilting and knitting clubs and events.
Hours: Tues.-Sat. 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. First Thursday of the month 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
341 W. State St., Sycamore, (815) 895-3011, sweetearthjewelry.com
This unconventional store prides itself on its selection of small-brand, handcrafted, quality jewelry, but customers also appreciate the wide selection of beads, gem samples, designer clothing and artisan foods found inside.
Unlike your typical jewelry store, Sweet Earth offers repairs on fashion jewelry and provides specialized engravings on items like wine bottles, knives and plaques.
Beyond jewelry, hard-to-find items like pink Himalayan salt lamps and eco-friendly cleaning supplies make up this store’s selection of goods.
Richard Para, who owns the shop with wife Roseann, opened Sweet Earth in 1994 to join his interest in jewelry and his wife’s interest in retail under the same roof.
Para has worked with jewelry since he was 15 years old and says working on unique items gives him a challenge and keeps him thinking creatively.
In addition to making repairs, Richard hosts group workshops in which he introduces adults to the skills and resources needed to create handmade, one-of-a-kind keepsakes such as gemstone pendants and oil-diffusing bead bracelets.
“In classes, you bring skills out of people they didn’t even know they had,” Richard says.
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.