Check out these unusual and inventive stores around our area.
Blue Clay Berry Farm
5154 State Road 50, Delavan, Wis., (262) 745-3720, blueclayberryfarm.com
There’s nothing like tasting in-season strawberries and blueberries freshly picked from the field, and Blue Clay Berry Farm lets you pick to your heart’s content. This second-generation family farm produces a bountiful supply of sweet summer berries every year.
“We started growing them in spring 2013, and we now have 5 acres of strawberries and about 1,000 blueberry bushes,” says Ella Kauer, owner with husband Brad. “People can purchase pre-picked and pick-your-own strawberries typically through the end of June, and then our blueberry season runs from the second week of July to the beginning of August.”
Ella’s parents, Ralph and Virginia Rudsinski, purchased the land in 1968 and originally ran it as a dairy farm, complete with a small herd of Holstein cattle. Having grown up on the property, Ella was the ideal person to take over when her parents retired in 2010.
Although novices to fruit and vegetable production, the Kauers learned quickly, and by 2014, the farm’s bright harvest was open to the public. The farm’s new title is inspired by the veins of uncommon blue clay found in the farm’s subsoil.
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun. to 4 p.m.
Patina Haus Eclectic Home Decor & Gifts
29 S. Old Rand Road, Lake Zurich, (847) 404-7011, patinahaus.com
Step into this small home and discover a vibrant mix of contemporary furnishings, vintage finds and stylish gifts. The “haus,” with its ever-changing collection, specializes in pairing uniquely worn-in items with modern pieces.
“I always wanted to open up a store because I like to shop a lot – but I don’t need anything more in my own house,” says Molly Bowes, co-owner with fiance Bob Solomon.
The duo opened the business together in May 2015. After working for corporate Walgreens, Bowes now applies her background in retail and visual merchandising to curate an eclectic collection. The couple regularly scout vendor showrooms, estate sales and antique markets. Solomon then updates those items into signature pieces, and Bowes works them into the store’s unique design.
“I’m always trying to make the house more shoppable, where people don’t have to look all over the store for one picture frame. They should be all in one spot, easy to find,” Bowes says.
Hours: Tue.-Fri. 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat. to 4 p.m
18 Douglas Ave., Elgin, (847) 742-0113, shockeyjewelers.com
Tradition is a cornerstone of this fourth-generation, family-owned business. After all, it’s timeless values of service, craftsmanship and honesty that have kept this jeweler around since 1937.
Display cases sparkle with engagement rings, precious gemstones, estate jewelry and watches, including refurbished pocketwatches produced by Elgin Watch Co., whose factory once stood a few blocks south of the store.
“We do specialty and professional services,” says Kathrin Filbrich, sales associate. “We excel at service and are proud to have longtime customers who come back again and again.”
Current owner Peter Shockey became part of an Elgin tradition when his parents bought the former Rauschert & Kubiak in 1977. A GIA Graduate Gemologist, Shockey selects many of the pieces and gems on display.
Shockey’s skilled staff have years of experience in the repair of high-grade watches and heirloom jewelry. Their true specialty, however, is the design of custom jewelry, especially when it comes to custom engagement rings and transforming heirloom settings and stones into new treasures.
Shockey Jewelers also buys old gold and jewelry.
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Thu. to 7 p.m., Sat. to 5 p.m.
Read Between the Lynes
111 E. Van Buren St., Woodstock, (815) 206-5967, readbetweenthelynes.com
This independent bookstore has settled nicely into its new location as it carries on decades of tradition and hometown charm. Owner Arlene Lynes opened the business at a different spot on the Woodstock Square in 2005.
“When I moved to Woodstock in 1997, there were three independent bookstores located on the Square, and all were closed by Fall 2004,” says Lynes. “I missed the presence of a bookstore in town and decided to look into what it would take to open my own.”
The shelves now hold more than 7,000 titles including national bestsellers and local favorites. The store frequently hosts authors.
In between browsing the store’s many items, shoppers can enjoy freshly made Door County coffee, Homer’s Ice Cream from Wilmette and numerous gourmet candies – food items carried on from the location’s previous business tenants, Seasons by Peg and Cobblestones on the Square.
“Cobblestones was at this location when I first moved to town, so it was an honor to take over the food side of the business and carry on those customer-favorite traditions,” says Lynes.
The store also carries Woodstock souvenirs and is home to the Real Woodstock Visitors Center.
Hours: Mon.-Thu. 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Fri.-Sat. to 9 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.