Nooks & Crannies, Holiday 2021 Edition

Check out these original and inventive shops in our area.

Civinte Home Fragrance and Decor

6252 E. Riverside Blvd., Ste. B, Loves Park, Ill., (779) 423-1923.

Cheryl Patrice started making candles on her own before she opened Civinte Home Fragrance and Decor just two years ago.

“The concept came to be because of my love for fragrance,” says Patrice, who owns the business with her daughter, Breana Ciara.

That love was curtailed when Patrice’s son developed asthma, a condition that was flared by her candle-burning. Once she identified paraffin wax candles as the culprit for her son’s health issues, Patrice put her three science degrees to work by researching alternatives. That’s when she discovered the benefits of soy wax and coconut apricot wax.

“I decided to make my own candles and I realized I loved it,” Patrice says. “I talked to my daughter and said, ‘Do you want to come along this journey with me?’”

The business offers an astounding selection of candles, melts and mists made with premium, high-quality, clean, eco-friendly waxes and fragrance oils. Patrice and Ciara also host Cocktails & Candles, a BYOB candle-making workshop for date nights, bachelorette parties and other fun occasions.

“We make everything by hand,” Patrice says.

To make Civinte’s smell of success even more sweet, Patrice’s son is now a fan of the products.

“At first he said, ‘You’re going to try and kill me again?’” she laughs. “But, he hasn’t had a problem. He even burns the candles in his own house now.”

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

Tommi’s Garden Blooms

N3252 County Hwy. H, Lake Geneva, (262) 729-4162,

For six years, this full-service florist been filling the needs of people in the Lake Geneva area.

“We get fresh flowers every day,” says Melissa Kasten, a longtime employee. “If anyone is looking for anything specific, we can usually get it.”

In addition to arrangements for weddings, funerals and everything in between, the shop also sells Christmas trees and wreaths in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Tommi’s also sells locally made decorative signs and candles as well as CBD oil. During the summer months, they host a farmers market in their backyard.

A back room is available for groups wishing to try a flower arrangement workshop for bachelorette parties and other gatherings.

Part of what makes the florist a popular choice in the Lake Geneva area is the firm’s creativity. Kasten and Tommi Hackler, the store’s owner, take pride in creating arrangements that speak to the personality of each client.

“We like to personalize things a lot,” Kasten says. “For funerals, if the person was a big Scrabble player, we’ll put Scrabble pieces in the casket spray.”

When it comes to preparing arrangements, Hackler advises letting the staff do the picking and arranging for you.

“We know what’s in season, what’ll last and what’s new,” says Hackler. “Dealer’s choice is where it’s at.”

Hours: Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Sat. to 2 p.m., Sun 10 a.m.-5 p.m

M.D Trains

130 Cass St., Woodstock, Ill., (815) 459-4216,

Tucked in the Woodstock Square, this model railroading business carries engines and cars, mini railroad sets, layout designs and accessories from a several suppliers. The business also services train engines and installs electronics, sounds and remote controls.

“This is pretty much your classic hobby train store,” says owner Matthew Drennan.

A lifelong fan of trains, Drennan opened the business in 2018 after spending four years running a train shop in Crystal Lake that dealt strictly with over-the-phone and online sales.

“I love working with trains, and my wife told me I was a very good salesman,” Drennan says with a laugh. “I used to go and watch trains come into the station in Crystal Lake, and I’ve spent a lot of time at the Illinois Railway Museum. For me, this is as much enjoyment as it is a job.”

Drennan says his business has shown plenty of growth, especially since more people are finding him.
“We’re one of the only train shops between Rockford and Grayslake, so we have a very large hole to fill for the customer clientele who are figuring out we’re here,” he says.

Hours: Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-4 p.m.