Check out these unusual and inventive stores around our area.
Barrington Tailor Shop
112 E. Main St., Barrington, (847) 381-6411, barringtontailor.com
Because this store makes most of its clothing by hand, every customer experience is one-of-a-kind. Jolly Dandona and her husband, Gary, have owned the store for 22 years.
“It’s my passion,” says Jolly. “I love to create things.” The store’s four tailors design and alter a range of formal outfits, including pageant and prom dresses, wedding gowns, men’s suits and bridesmaid dresses, as well as mother-of-the-bride and mother-of-the-groom dresses.
“If someone buys a dress, but it’s too small or doesn’t fit, we restyle it,” Jolly says. “One customer brought in a dress that was two sizes too small, but she still loved the dress, so we restyled it for her.”
In addition to alterations, the tailors do detailed beadwork for various clothes, particularly bridal gowns. Jolly assures customers that she can create most anything from cloth.
“Anything is possible,” she says. “If a dress is already made, we can alter it. If you buy fabric, we can design and make whatever you want. Customers usually come in with some ideas of their own, and then I give recommendations of what I think would look good on them.”
Hours: Tues., Wed., Fri. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thurs. to 6 p.m.; Sat. to 3 p.m.
116 S. York St., Ste. 102, Elmhurst, (331) 225-2498, goaliesgoodies.com
When Debbie Watrous opened this candy store in June 2013, she recognized two longtime passions: entrepreneurship and hockey. Watrous has been a goalie for about 16 years.
“I love producing food that people like, whether it’s their first time in or the third time they’re back, because they enjoy it so much,” says Watrous.
Inside this sweet-smelling store are a variety of popcorns, packaged ice creams and nostalgia candy, such as wax bottles.
“I love hearing people say, ‘I haven’t seen this since I was a kid!’” says Watrous.
When she opened the store, Watrous created the popcorn from her own recipes. Now, customers’ ideas inspire new flavors, such as parmesan garlic, strawberry and hot cheddar.
Watrous gives back to the community constantly, donating a percentage of sales to local charities each year. On the counter sits a donation jar, the current proceeds of which will support Elmhurst-Yorkfield Food Pantry.
Hours: Mon.-Wed. 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Thurs.-Fri. 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun. noon-4 p.m.
2440 Westward Dr., Unit C, Spring Grove, (815) 675-2008, naturesfeed.net
From natural pet food to certified dog training, Nature’s Feed strives to build healthy pets. After all, that’s what inspired owner Dorothy Vetrovec to launch the store in 2008.
Always fond of animals, Vetrovec found a business opportunity after switching her dog’s diet to a healthier alternative. The store became a place where Vetrovec could share what she learned.
“It’s beyond a shopping experience – it’s educational,” she says. “We are known for our customer service, so we’re not going to sell you a product just to sell you a product. We’re going to learn about your situation so we can best suit you with what your pet needs.”
The shop sells many supplies, including collars, leashes, treats and toys. Its strong point, though, is the food, which is made by niche brands such as Fromm, Stella & Chewy’s, and Zignature.
Through the store’s dog training classes, a certified trainer teaches the force-free method, an approach that, instead of using a choke chain, reinforces good behavior with praise, treats or toys.
Hours: Mon.-Wed., Fri. 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Thurs. to 6:30 p.m.; Sat. to 3 p.m.
C’est La Vie by Sylvie
25 S. Third St., Geneva, (630) 578-6018, cestlaviebysylvie.com
Sylvie Baumann found the inspiration to open this charming French boutique in 2012 because of her spa clients’ endless compliments about the outfits she brought back from Paris. A native of France, Baumann finds it easy to share French styles with her customers. “It’s how I grew up, so it’s fashion that I’m used to already,” says Baumann.
The store sells many types of apparel, including cashmere sweaters, shirts, pants, jewelry and shoes. About 90 percent of the shop’s clothes are from various French designers, while other items come from other countries. Shoes, for example, come mainly from Italy, Brazil and Portugal.
But dresses are the most popular item. “The dresses can be worn every day, but you can also transform them to be more upscale, like if you go out to a restaurant or another formal occasion,” says Baumann. “They’re chic, but still comfortable.”
Baumann promises one-on-one attention, ensuring that customers receive personalized assistance while shopping for an outfit they can wear with confidence.
“We care about each person, and want to help them find outfits that make them feel beautiful, both inside and out,” Baumann says.
Hours: Tues.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.