This alliance of 10 area shop owners draws together a wide range of services and products. Step inside Pepper Road & Friends and find out more about this group of small antique, vintage and boutique shops.
Four years ago, a group of antique/vintage/boutique shops located in a somewhat obscure industrial park of Lake Barrington banded together to form an unlikely partnership.
They’re located mostly along Pepper Road, a short, mainly north-south thoroughfare that locals use as a shortcut between Kelsey Road and Route 14, and their owners host an annual Holiday Open House as a way to direct traffic to their individually thriving, yet “hidden gem” businesses.
“The one comment that we always heard, and it was almost every week, without fail, is, ‘You know, I live about a half-mile away, and I didn’t know you were back here,’” says Julia Smith, owner of Julia and Friends, a store located on Pepper Road. “So, the bottom line was, shame on us for not getting the word out there to people.”
The group’s very first joint holiday event proved to be a success, with the shop owners eagerly cross-promoting each others’ assortments of one-of-a-kind goods.
The owners of Julia and Friends, Junk Warehouse Etc., Tattered Tiques, Creative Resale Ltd. and Spruce soon after joined forces with other nearby shops that fit a repurposed/consignment/vintage profile. Lake Barrington Resale 4 Less (located a block over), The Pink Geranium and Company, Steeplechase Antiques, and The English Daisy of Barrington joined the effort.
Just last year, The Winterberry Companies moved to Pepper Road and joined ranks with the group. The store had operated in Wheaton as JB Winterberry for nearly a decade before the owners took a break. Pepper Road and Friends now comprises 10 shops.
“It seemed like a natural fit for people to host events like this together,” says Carolyn McFeely, owner of The English Daisy. “People may not drive from the North Shore of Chicago for one shop, but if they can go to 10 shops that all work together and help promote one another, what a fun day out.”
Pepper Road and Friends now hosts an average of five collaborative events each season, including its Holiday Open House. There’s also a Girls Night Out in July, a Fall for Junk event in September, and a popular Vintage Spring Market that includes outside vendors, as well.
Individually, each shop has a strong following, but cross-promotion via Facebook, Instagram and traditional news sources has helped group events to take off.
It helps that each shop is so unique, even though they share the same genre.
“We each have something distinctly different to offer our guests, whether it’s our look, or our selection or how we handle ourselves,” Smith says. “Our personalities come through in our shops. We aren’t cookie-cutter at all. We don’t trod on each other’s toes. When you’re dealing in the realm of vintage, resale and consignment, there’s not a whole lot of cookie-cutter to it. It’s not replicated easily. Each one of us has a different design influence, a different theme going on, and that’s the beauty of it.”
What’s more, the shop owners have bonded beyond business, says Ann Kyrk, who runs Creative Resale Ltd. with her mother, Sandy Breda, and sister Joy Prisching.
“The girls have become really good friends,” she says. “I love their shops; I’m always shopping the other shops.”
Customers recognize the budding camaraderie, which feeds the fun that shoppers enjoys on Pepper Road and beyond.
“It’s a great group of shops, and women running their shops, who are always looking for the best possible things to bring their customers,” says McFeely. “I’ve spent my entire career in retail, mostly from the corporate end, and it’s so refreshing to have a group of people, who would ordinarily consider each other competition, truly wanting to help each other.”
Holiday Open House
Pepper Road and Friends hosts its annual Holiday Open House Wednesday, Nov. 8, from 4 to 8 p.m., to launch its holiday season. Each store features special events; some shower customers with hors d’oeuvres and refreshments; others provide giveaways every hour; still others offer demonstrations.
Pepper Road and Friends
To learn more about the 10 antique, vintage, resale and consignment shops, visit pepperroadandfriends.com.
Antique, shabby, vintage, farm and industrial wares
22029 Pepper Road, Unit 2
Junk Warehouse Etc.
Flea market boutique specializing in custom painting of vintage furniture and cabinetry
22049 N. Pepper Road, Ste. 3
The Winterberry Companies
Blend of vintage goods and new, on-trend merchandise with modern industrial and urban design
28147 W. Commercial Ave.
Classic home furnishings and accessories
22049 N. Pepper Road, Unit 3
Creative Resale Ltd.
Furniture, accessories, upscale women’s clothing and more
22029 N. Pepper Road, Unit 4
Julia and Friends
Thrift, consignment and vintage home furnishings, plus new boutique clothing
22049 N. Pepper Road, Ste. 6 and 7
Lake Barrington Resale 4 Less
Gently used high-end furniture and accessories
28123 Industrial Ave., Ste. 2