Check out these unusual and inventive stores around our area.
Angelus Home & Garden
325 Kensoha St., Walworth, Wis., (414) 815-6638, angeluslife.com
Sisters Jeannene Clark and Therese La Londe Horvath opened Angelus in 2011, determined to make it the kind of shop they would personally want to visit.
“We have wonderful stores around here, but something was missing,” says Clark. “We fill a niche for a shop that’s a little more affordable, but still very stylish, with an emphasis on repurposed items. We hate seeing things go into the dump.”
The self-proclaimed “junksta sisters” enjoy giving old objects new life. They also offer workshops to those who want to learn chalk painting, glazing and other restoration techniques.
There’s new, used and repurposed furniture plus home decor that caters to cottage, lake, rustic and salvage-style homes. The sisters also sell chalk paint; select plants and garden accents; essential oils, bath and beauty products; Bible-inspired gifts; chocolates, coffee and other treats.
Why the name ‘Angelus’? “It’s the name of a prayer in the Book of Luke in the Bible, and it’s also the title of a painting we love, by French artist Jean-Francois Millet,” says Clark. “We were each in a different location when the idea for the name came to both of us on the same day,” says Clark.
Hours: Sun. & Mon. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Wed. & Thu. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Country Girl Boutique
902 S. Jackson St., Mt. Carroll, Ill., (815) 244-2242, facebook.com/countrygirlboutique.biz
Shelly Tautz opened her own storefront in 2012, fulfilling a lifelong dream. “Our building looks like a little red barn,” says Tautz. “We even have a pen where we bring a horse on the weekends. Anyone who knows me knows that I love animals; that’s the world I’m happiest in.”
Tautz loves the country girl style, so the store sells western clothing, accessories and home decor, including belts, cowboy hats, purses, candles and blankets made in Lena. Major brands include Wrangler, Ariat, Justin Brands and Miss Me. The No. 1 seller is cowboy boots.
“My motto is, ‘There’s no such thing as too much bling, and boots and bling go with everything,’” she says. “And don’t let the name of the store fool you – we also have men’s clothes, boots and accessories.”
The boutique recently added live acoustic country music entertainment every Saturday. Once a month, customers are also welcome to the Ladies’ Night Out, where local vendors come to grow their businesses.
Hours: Mon.-Wed., Fri.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thu. to 7 p.m.; Sun. to 3 p.m.
149 E. Lincoln Hwy., DeKalb, Ill., (815) 787-7683, kidstuffdekalb.com
From maternity wear to strollers and cribs, raising children can be costly. In 1999, Vickie Obermiller was tired of trying to create adorable outfits for her three daughters from thrift store and yard sale clothing. So, she opened an expansive resale shop that offers new and gently used products for children and parents alike.
“I wanted a shop that I could always walk into and find like-new items at a fraction of the original price in a kid-friendly environment,” says Obermiller.
The two floors overflow with colorful children’s toys of all shapes and sizes, rows of shelves with clothes and shoes for every age group, and an array of children’s furniture and equipment. With an enormous selection of gently used maternity items covering XS to 3X sizes, the shop offers almost everything for families at any stage. Obermiller even hosts special scrapbooking and craft events to get acquainted with her customers.
“Meeting everyone and helping parents find the perfect items that they are looking for is what I enjoy most about running the store,” she says.
Hours: Tue.-Wed. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Thu. to 6 p.m., Fri. to 7 p.m., Sat. to 4 p.m.
134 W. Main St., Elizabeth, Ill., (815) 858-3749
In 2005, Heather Wand and her mother, Kathy Wand, took ownership of a gift shop in downtown Elizabeth, Ill. The mother-daughter team is thrilled to celebrate the store’s 10th anniversary this year.
“Both my mom and I had worked in gift shops in the past and thought it would be something exciting and fun that we could do together,” says Heather. “I enjoy remaining connected to my hometown by being part of the next generation of our small town’s business owners.”
The store sells many kinds of gift items, such as home accents, greeting cards and braided rugs. Some of the most popular items tend to be Crossroads candles. “It’s fun to go shopping for merchandise,” says Kathy. “We get the products from a lot of different places, so there’s a nice variety. There’s a little bit of everything.”
Many products in the store are primitive folk style, which is drawn from an early Americana time period, typically using muted colors with a rough and simple look. “A lot of shops in the area have moved away from selling primitive items, but we’ve stuck with it,” says Kathy.
“We try to stock items that you can’t buy in chain retail stores,” adds Heather.
Hours: Tue.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.