Nooks & Crannies, Autumn 2021 Edition

Check out these unusual and inventive stores around our area.


3622 E. State St., Rockford, (815) 398-4900

This store has been buying, selling and trading used tools for 20 years and recently began stocking new tools, too. When you think about it, the concept makes sense. How many times have we purchased new tools for a specific job only to see them collect dust after that job was done?

“There are enough people wanting to sell things and enough people who realize that secondhand tools are just as good as new ones to keep me in business,” says owner Dave Stenberg.

He offers tools at about half the original retail price, and everything in the store has a warranty for parts and labor for 30 days. He’ll buy back anything he sells for 60 percent of the cost.

Stenberg’s inventory includes hand tools, power tools, automotive tools and saws, bench grinders, drill presses, micrometers, calipers, levels, gauges, ladders, nail guns, air compressors and much more.

Stenberg has spent his life working in retail sales and finds it a rewarding way to help people.

“Part of the fun is helping people to find what they’re looking for because they know what they want to do, but don’t always know how to do it,” he says.

ReTool was a franchise at one time. When it went out of business in 2000, Stenberg kept the store going as a local business owner.

Hours: Mon.-Fri. 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Sat. to 1 p.m.

The Bicycle Hub

418 Main St., Pecatonica, Ill., (779) 770-6411,

Jim Brechlin has many talents. He’s played string bass with the Rockford Symphony Orchestra and the Rock River Symphony since the 1980s. He spent nearly three decades working as a professional chef. And as a kid growing up in greater Rockford, he ran a bicycle repair shop from his basement for 10 years.

“I was the second-oldest of 10 kids, so we had a big demand for bicycles,” he says.

Jim returned to his childhood passion in 2012, on the eve of the Pecatonica Prairie Trail completion, and today helps fellow cyclists to purchase, maintain and fix their bicycles.

“I believe bicycles are the best form of transportation on earth. As long as we have gravity, land and legs, we’ll have bicycles,” he says. Brechlin often finishes a tune-up within 30 minutes, depending on store traffic. He helps customers to upgrade, refurbish, clean, overhaul and replace their bikes, and accepts trade-ins.

A typical $32 tune-up buys you bearing, brake and gear adjustment, proper tire inflation and a lube job.

Along with many brands of bicycles, the store carries or can access three-wheelers, tandems, unicycles, scooters, trailers, carriers and toddler vehicles.

Hours: Sun., Wed. & Thurs. 1-5 p.m.; Fri. 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sat. 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; By appointment only on Mon. & Tues. and in the months of January and February.

C.R Goodfind’s Housewares and Sundries

731 W. Main St., Lake Geneva, (262) 812-4101

Tom Konopacki has lived and breathed retail all his life and owns two stores in Geneva, Ill. So when he relocated his Lake Geneva store to a vintage building on bustling Main Street, he knew his customers would not only appreciate great inventory, but also a shopping space with true character.

“We brought back to life the original hardwood floors and tin ceiling and uncovered the beautiful limestone columns and header on the front facade that had been hidden for decades,” he says. “We wanted to honor the history of the building instead of cover it up.”

C.R. Goodfinds sells affordable home accents, artwork and seasonal decor. Konopacki prides himself on an evolving selection.

“I rarely place re-orders,” he says. “We’re very in tune with the changing seasons and are always transitioning to the next one, just as nature does.”

There’s a heavy splash of handmade and locally made wares as well as a nice mix of women’s apparel, jewelry and handbags. The tasteful collections of housewares – from rugs, candles and mirrors to a little bit of everything else – are artfully displayed.

“If I see something I think customers will enjoy, I carry it,” says Konopacki. “I don’t box myself in. We’re like an old-fashioned general store. That’s where the ‘sundries’ part of our name comes in.”

Hours: Sun.-Thurs. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Fri.-Sat. to 8 p.m.