Check out these unusual and inventive stores around our area.
Books at Sunset
1100 South St., Elgin, (847) 888-1860, booksatsunset.com
When Judi Brownfield was a child, her mother teased her with the reward of reading if she finished her chores.
“Using reading as an incentive, instead of a punishment, really encouraged me to love reading,” says Brownfield. “Reading became a part of who I am.”
In 1999, Brownfield opened Books at Sunset, where customers can find a range of new and gently used books, spanning all genres. Avid readers can trade in a gently used book for store credit that’s applied toward a new book.
With antique chairs and cozy reading corners, this shop provides a perfect location to meet new people and discuss literature. Recently, the shop hosted a Ladies Out with Lucy afternoon, full of answering “I Love Lucy” trivia and recreating two episodes from the lovable redhead’s repertoire, complete with costumes and food of the 1950s.
“Reading is all about communication, whether that’s through written words, conversation or theatre,” says Brownfield. “There’s a mystique to pulling a book off the shelf.”
Hours: Tue.-Fri. 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat. 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cheryl’s Candy ‘N Popcorn
3027 English Rows Ave., No. 107, Naperville, (630) 853-5854, cherylscandynpopcorn.com
As children, Cheryl Buchanan and her husband, John, loved visiting old-fashioned candy stores. Hoping to bring back that nostalgic candy shop experience, they opened Cheryl’s Candy ‘N Popcorn in October 2013.
“People say it looks like a candy heaven or Willy Wonka’s factory in our store,” says Cheryl. “We have every candy you can think of. If we don’t have it, they don’t make it.”
The shop sells lollipops, candy buttons and Jelly Bellies, among many other hard-to-find goodies. Along with old-fashioned sodas and about 100 varieties of bulk candy, the Buchanans also carry hand-spun cotton candy and 30 flavors of gourmet popcorn, made from scratch with natural ingredients.
Hours: Tue.-Sat. 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Sun. 1-6 p.m.
945 E. Rand Road, Arlington Heights, (847) 506-6410, quiltersdestination.com
Patti Dockus fell in love with the art of sewing at a young age. She connected her passions for sewing and entrepreneurship when she opened Quilter’s Destination in 2006.
Bright and cheerful fabrics line the walls, with materials from modern designers and well-known brands, including Moda, Robert Kaufman, Hoffman Batiks and Stonehenge from Northcott. The store also sells and repairs Janome sewing machines.
“We’re a full-service quilt shop,” says Dockus. “We give classes every week, from learning about the quilting process all the way to learning how to make complex, accomplished quilts.”
Dockus likes to keep class sizes small so students receive a hands-on experience.
Hours: Tue., Thu.-Fri. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Wed. to 8 p.m.; Sat. to 4 p.m.; Sun. noon-4 p.m.
149 E. Lincoln Hwy., DeKalb, (815) 787-7683, kidstuffdekalb.com
Raising children can be costly. In 1999, Vickie Obermiller was tired of creating adorable outfits for her three daughters from thrift store and yard sale clothing, so she opened a shop that offers new and gently used products for children and parents alike.
“I wanted a shop that I could always find like-new items at a fraction of the original price in a kid-friendly environment,” says Obermiller.
The two floors overflow with colorful children’s toys of all shapes and sizes, rows of shelves with clothes and shoes for every age group, and an array of children’s furniture and equipment.
With an enormous selection of gently used maternity items covering XS to 3X sizes, the shop offers almost everything for families at any stage.
Obermiller even hosts special scrapbooking and craft events to get acquainted with her customers.
“Meeting everyone and helping parents find the perfect items that they’re looking for is what I enjoy most about running the store,” she says.
Hours: Tue.-Wed. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Thu. to 6 p.m., Fri. to 7 p.m., Sat. to 4 p.m.