Check out these unusual and inventive stores around our area.
841 Highway 20 East, Stockton, Ill. (815) 947-3173
This shop is packed with interesting antiques including glassware, vintage clothing, jewelry, cheese, spices, honey, vintage tools, books, and dozens of other collectibles. “There are treasures for everyone,” says MaryAnn Elmer, one of 13 antique dealers who sells her wares in a restored farmhouse on the east edge of Highway 20 in Stockton.
Antiques Etcetera opened its doors four years ago, thanks to a couple of ambitious dealers. Word quickly spread and other collectors jumped aboard to rent space. The 8-room farmhouse has plenty of space for each dealer to display prized possessions.
Word of mouth is a big part of business, as people from throughout northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin find their way to the farmhouse, usually on their way to Galena. And why not?
Where else can you find a 1928 Federal Highboy radio that’s still in good condition, vintage stained glass church windows, or antique cooking utensils like the potato ricers and cookie cutters your grandmother used?
“It’s a trip down memory lane,” says Elmer. “We appeal to people of all ages.
“People come looking to buy something for themselves, but often find something unique that makes a great present for Christmas, a birthday or other occasions.”
Hours: Open daily except Tuesday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Closed Wednesdays in January and February.
The Complete Sheep Shoppe
10828 Caledonia Road, Belvidere, Ill., (815) 895-9678, completesheepshoppe.com
Paul and Jane Zeien’s interest in fiber processing began with two Hampshire Ewes that they purchased as 4-H projects. Since that time, they’ve expanded their interest and have raised Hampshire, Shetland and Lester Longwool sheep. “As our flock grew, we wanted to utilize the wool that we were collecting,” Jane says. In 2007, they founded the Illinois Wool and Fiber Mill on their property in Boone County. “We take fibers and wool and turn them into yarn for knitting,” says Jane.
That business venture was so successful that, in 2012, the couple took another leap of faith and purchased The Complete Sheep Shoppe from retiring owners Mary Ann and Joe Bross, who owned the DeKalb retail outlet for more than 30 years. The Zeiens moved the business to their farm and set up a store.
They sell clothing, scarves, mittens, boots, slippers and blankets – including national brands such as Woolrich, Pendelton, Minnentonka and UGG. “Wool has a lot of wonderful characteristics,” Jane says. “It’s warm in winter and cool in summer, renewable, natural and wears well. And it’s no longer scratchy.” Hours: Tues.-Sat. 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Sunday noon to 5 p.m.
219 E. State St., Rockford, Ill., (815) 963-2171
One of the first places runners of all abilities go for their running needs is Runner’s Image in downtown Rockford.
“It’s a close-knit community that we cater to,” says sales associate Katie Barnett. “We’re a small, locally owned business that sells running shoes, outdoor gear, accessories and swimwear.”
Runner’s Image also carries well-known brands of running shoes including New Balance, Brooks, Adidas, Mizuno, Nike, Saucony and Asics, as well as winter gear like mittens, gloves and hats. Steve Jaycox, a former employee, is the third owner of Runner’s Image, which opened in 1983. “Steve supports the downtown area,” says Barnett. “We’re excited about the revitalization that’s taking place down here.”
You don’t have to be an elite runner to buy your running shoes at Runner’s Image. The majority of customers are beginner to intermediate level. Hours: Mon., Wed., & Fri. from 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Tues. & Thurs. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
523 1st St., New Glarus, Wis., (608) 527-5558, sistersnewglarus.com
Sisters Sue Schilling and Kathy Brecklin have been in business together for more than 25 years, even while working day jobs. The store features antiques, repurposed vintage items, gifts, seasonal items and home décor. “We have unique items that you won’t see in the other stores,” Schilling says.
Shoppers will find refurbished items such as church pews, wicker furniture, wooden stools, parlor chairs and wooden desks, as well as vintage benches and side tables, lamps, pie cupboards and cedar chests.
In addition to offering advice in-store, Sisters provides decorating services. The staff will work to find furniture and accent pieces, but they don’t stop there.
“Kathy can assist with redecorating,” says Schilling. “She’ll come to your home and dig around in your basement or attic and use things you already own. She has an amazing ability to see old things in a new light.”
The pair moved the shop from Darlington to New Glarus in September 2013. Hours: Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-4 p.m.