Nooks & Crannies, Autumn/Holiday Edition

Check out these unusual and inventive stores around our area.

Cheri-Picked Vintage

525 Lincoln Highway, Rochelle, Ill., (815) 677-3134

When Cheri Moyers’ friends began asking her to pick up this or that for them at auctions and estate sales, she figured maybe it was time to open her own shop and fill it with the kind of treasures she has in her own home.

So, the Oregon resident opened Cheri-Picked Vintage with husband Dennis this year in a sturdy, 100-year-old home on the Lincoln Highway. It provides a perfect backdrop for vintage treasures.

“We try to arrange things by room, so the kitchen items are all in the kitchen, etc.,” Cheri explains. “The kitchen is a red and white color scheme that feels like your grandmother’s kitchen and just makes you feel good.”

Not everything in the store is antique or even vintage, but it all appeals to Cheri’s decor sense and works together well.

“Quilts and crocks and anything with vintage advertising on it are very popular right now,” she says.

Bowls, baskets, artwork, lamps, linens, mirrors and more are artfully arranged. There are new items, too, such as candles, T-shirts, tea towels and hand-made items in vintage styles.

The only drawback to having her own store? “I get less windshield time out picking.”

The Rochelle Christmas Walk is Dec. 6.

Hours: Wed.-Fri. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sat. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Cracker Jax

118 N. Third St., DeKalb, (815) 758-8178

When you walk into this cozy downtown gift shop, the first thing you’ll notice is a sweet aroma. The incense, candles and perfumes that permeate the air are all top sellers.

“We sell a lot of scents,” says owner Lauren Woods.

Beyond scents, you’ll find a wide selection of women’s jewelry and clothing, books, greeting cards and home decor, among many other choices.

“People always come here from out of town to find unique things they won’t find anywhere else,” says Samantha Jones, creative director.

A local staple for 35 years, this store is constantly growing. When neighboring businesses moved out, Woods and her team expanded into the vacant spaces.

“I started this place on my own from scratch,” Woods says. “There was nothing in town that was like this place at the time, so I decided to create it on my own.”

Her store’s name was inspired by the sweet and salty treat that always bears a prize.

“My sister thought this place was like Cracker Jack because you’ll always find something special in it,” Woods says.

Hours: Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat. to 6 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Amish Kitchen

1741 East Geneva St., Suite 450, Delavan, Wis. (262) 725-6693,

Deanna Delimat appreciates the wholesome and delicious flavors of foods made by hand in Amish communities.

“The ingredients are all very straighforward,” she says. “You don’t have to worry you’re ingesting jet fuel, if you know what I mean.”

The store she owns in Delavan sells a number of fine chocolate treats including chocolate cashew crunch, peanut butter cups and turtles; fruit jams and jellies; preserved produce like pickled asparagus, dilly beans or garlic; home-grown popcorn and fresh baked goods.

“We drive to northern Wisconsin every Thursday to pick up the baked goods from an Amish family of 14 that makes them from scratch,” she says.

Delimat offers custom-printed packaging for companies that want to give Amish treats as gifts or for groups who sell the food in their fundraising programs.

Many people are surprised to learn that the Amish population has doubled in the past 20 years, says Delimat. More than 265,000 Amish adults and children reside in North America, choosing to live very simple lives, often without electricity.

Hours: Thurs.-Sat., 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sun. noon to 6 p.m.