Nooks & Crannies, Holiday Edition

Check out these unusual and inventive stores around our area.

Angelus Home & Garden

325 Kenosha St., Walworth, Wis., (414) 815-6638,

Sisters Jeannene Clark and Therese La Londe Horvath opened Angelus in 2011, determined to make it the kind of shop they would personally want to visit.

“We have wonderful stores around here, but something was missing,” says Clark. “We fill a niche for a shop that’s a little more affordable, but still very stylish, with an emphasis on repurposed items. We hate seeing things go into the dump.”

The self-proclaimed “junksta sisters” enjoy giving old objects new life. They also offer workshops to those who want to learn chalk painting, glazing and other restoration techniques.

There’s new, used and repurposed furniture plus home decor that caters to cottage, lake, rustic and salvage-style homes. The sisters also sell chalk paint; select plants and garden accents; essential oils, bath and beauty products; Bible-inspired gifts; chocolates, coffee and other treats.

Why the name ‘Angelus’? “It’s the name of a prayer in the Book of Luke in the Bible, and it’s also the title of a painting we love, by French artist Jean-Francois Millet,” says Clark. “We were each in a different location when the idea for the name came to both of us on the same day,” says Clark.

Hours: Sun. & Mon. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Wed. & Thu. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Beat Street

70 S. Evergreen Ave., Arlington Heights, (847) 749-3045,

The whimsical nature of the first Beat Street in Winnetka hooked Jen Sanger into frequenting the fun toy store. Its charming assortment of toys and knick-knack gifts from “off the beaten path” appeal to both the young and young at heart.

“I loved the selection,” says Sanger, a former stay-at-home mom. “As my kids got to elementary school, I realized I needed something to do, and if I was going to open a store, a toy store sounded like a really fun thing to do.”

The original Beat Street moved to Kenilworth in 2013. After she talked with store founder Julie Windsor, Sanger agreed to open another location in June 2014. Both stores carry the same lines of toys and gifts, although Sanger maintains colorful, often retro displays and a collection of children’s bunny artwork that add to the store’s playful appeal.

“We stock baby items all the way up to women’s items,” says Sanger. “It truly is a happy place to be.”
Hours: Tue.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

Draxtar Games

1375 Wind Energy Pass, Batavia, (630) 454-4585,

Batavia’s premier gaming store entered the scene when many like it were closing in the Chicago area. Dan Zedan noticed the loss of local game workshop stores and saw an opportunity to create what he always wanted: a relaxed place for gamers of all skill levels.

Opened in June 2013 and named after Zedan’s first Dungeons & Dragons character, Draxtar Games provides a welcoming environment for gamers who enjoy tabletop, miniature, role-playing, collectible-card and board games. The shop sells all sets and additional pieces for the most popular games, including Magic: The Gathering, Dungeons & Dragons, Warhammer 40,000, Hordes and Bolt Action. In promotion of good sportmanship, the store enables all to build their skills, get advice from an experienced staff and meet other players.

“My favorite aspect is seeing what people can do with their hobby,” Zedan says. Draxtar hosts gaming sessions daily, including weekend tournaments, open gaming and other events.

Hours: Mon. 4 p.m.-midnight, Tue.-Thu. to 10 p.m., Fri.-Sat. noon-midnight, Sun. 1-10 p.m.

Reprographics – Imaging and Art Supplies

26 Crystal Lake Plaza, Crystal Lake, (815) 787-7683,

Herman Braun created one of the area’s largest family-owned fine art supply stores on a whim. After opening a blueprint and copy service shop in 1989, Braun saw a growing need for a fine art supplier as other local shops closed down. He slowly introduced fine art supply products, until they eventually took over the business.

“We just kept growing, adding space and expanding our offerings,” he says. “Other stores might carry a little bit of certain brands, but we carry the complete line of most of our products.”

Reprographics carries everything from children’s crafts to professional-level equipment. Product categories span from classic painting and drawing supplies to graphic arts, pottery, silk screening, airbrushing and home decor. Reprograhics also provides full printing services, including blueprinting, color copying, binding, laminating, posters, banners, giclee prints and more.

“I started learning the moment I opened Reprographics’ doors,” says Braun. “Now, my favorite part is helping people search through the store to find exactly what they need. It’s great to see our customers’ art projects, from the professional to the beginning artists.”

Hours: Mon.-Thu. 8:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m., Fri. to 6 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.