Check out these original and inventive shops in our area.
Jane’s on State
110 N. State St., Marengo, Ill., (815) 560-2150, janes-on-state.business.site
After more than two decades working as an illustrator for Nissan Forklift, Jill Quick decided it was time to put down her pen and pursue her passion.
“Once my boys were grown, I knew I wanted to do something other than work for a big corporation,” says Quick. “I wanted my own business.”
Quick’s artistic inclinations and desires for the future converged in October 2021 when she and her husband, Denny, opened a home goods store inside a building that has been in the family since the 1980s.
With a tasteful exterior that matches the cozy display space inside, Jane’s on State offers an inventory of upscale home decor for a range of tastes. From pillows, baskets and wall art to mirrors, vases and candles, Quick carefully considers every piece she puts on display.
Quick hopes to expand the shop’s outdoor space into a garden oasis, but plans are still in the works. For her, owning the store is more than a business venture; it’s a journey of self-expression and empowerment.
“I love that I get to make my hours and rules,” says Quick. “It’s satisfying to know that you’re doing a good job and you’re your own boss. I try to help local vendors do that, especially if they’re woman-owned.”
Hours: Thu.-Fri. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sat. to 3 p.m.
Culture Shock Records, Gifts and Clothing
2239 Charles St., Rockford, (815) 229-2997, cultureshockshop.com
Skyler Davis has been a music lover and collector for as long as he can remember. Exploring new towns and their unique shops has always gone hand-in-hand with his travels to take in live music.
Realizing Rockford lacked a business that celebrated music and embodied the local culture, the Belvidere native opened Culture Shock in June 2006.
The store’s fusion of music, vintage finds and locally made items make it one-of-a-kind. Davis’ eclectic inventory of new and gently used vinyl records, T-shirts, posters, locally roasted coffee and gift items exude nostalgic charm.
Local musicians find a platform, too, with record release shows and impromptu concerts in the parking lot. The store is also involved in community projects such as 815 Outside Day and the Miracle Mile Rockford Day Kindness project.
Davis takes pride in fostering helping customers find treasures while being a source of local recommendations and event information. There’s a deep sense of community.
“We’re that place where people come in and look around, whether or not they even shop here,” Davis adds. “They might just be hanging out like if they were at a coffee shop or a music show. Being able to make those friendships and see different communities of neighbors connect is great.”
Hours: Tue.-Sat. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Rock County Rocks & Gems
312 State St., Ste. A, Beloit, (608) 346-7132, rockcountyrocksandgems.com
Spring Steidl speaks to stones. As the owner of a rock and gem store, Steidl has turned her lifelong fascination with crystals into a heartfelt journey she shares with shoppers.
From the soothing qualities of hematite to the meditative energy of blue aragonite, Steidl’s store is a treasure trove of carefully selected items, including handmade jewelry, sculptures, books and incense. Her excitement for finding the best-quality pieces is palpable, and her willingness to educate is evident in her classes on topics like Reiki and meditation.
Her storefront features a variety of crystals and gems, each accompanied by informational notecards, each highlighting associated metaphysical properties. Fluorite, for example, is noted as a powerful healer that strengthens bones, grounds excess energy and is excellent for advancement of mind, greater concentration and meditation.
As she navigates her journey with Stage 4 Cancer, Steidl isn’t just selling rocks. She’s creating a space that reflects her love for the Earth’s treasures and her commitment to sharing that love with the community at large.
“The best part about this place is the people,” she says. “Some come in and grab a rock and they know it’s OK to find a spot and sit down. Sometimes they don’t even come in to look around. They just come to talk to me, and I love that.”
Hours: Wed.-Fri. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.-3 p.m.