Nooks & Crannies, Winter Edition

Check out these unusual and inventive stores around our area.

Paw Lickin’ Good Treats

2684 DeKalb Ave., Sycamore, (815) 758-8300,

Paw Lickin’ Good Treats has been helping pet owners provide happiness and well-being for their dogs and cats for more than a decade.

The pet store opened in 2006 with the goal of selling pet food that doesn’t contain wheat, corn, soy, byproducts or fillers.

“We carry a wide variety of holistic foods for dogs and cats – mostly brands that are only available in independent stores,” says Jody Meerdink, co-owner with Carol Dean.

Some of the food comes from the in-house bakery, where the staff cooks up healthy treats for dogs.

Toys, leashes, collars and grooming products are also sold here. You’ll also find special supplements for body and dental care, such as injury aids and digestion support products.

“Everyone on our staff is a pet parent and very knowledgeable about our products and ready to discuss foods and treats for just about any situation you can imagine,” Meerdink says.

Hours: Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat. to 5 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Fat Cat Custom Guitars

57 Douglas Ave, Elgin, (847) 888-0000,

The story behind Fat Cat Custom Guitars & Repair is as unique as the store itself.

“My wife and I were trying to come up with a name for the business and one of our cats walked by,” owner Scott Bond says with a laugh. “She is a fat cat, so I just said, ‘Let’s name the place Fat Cat.’ It’s catchy and it works.”

Since 2004, Bond’s Fat Cat has specialized in electric guitars, namely those he repairs, builds from scratch or customizes for each player.

The store sells custom, hand-built electric guitars, parts and accessories including necessities like strings and picks.
Occasionally, there are select used guitars available. Bond also offers set-ups, electronics replacement, general repairs and fretwork.

“We have custom-made guitars and parts that local musicians can’t find anywhere else,” says Bond, who has worked on guitars professionally for almost two decades.

A guitar for more than 30 years, Bond has even recorded an album at Abbey Road Studios in London.

“I’ve always loved working with and playing guitars,” he says.

Hours: Tues.-Fri. noon-6 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and by appointment.

Notice: Accessories For Living

202 S. Cook St., Barrington, (224) 655-2085,

Hannah Hannick calls her women’s boutique the world’s smallest department store.

“We have a little bit of everything in here,” says Hannick, who owns the retailer with her mother, Marci Barnes, and sister Becky Jackson.

The store is loaded with women’s clothing, jewelry, candles, baby and children’s items. If you’re buying a gift, wrapping is complementary.

It’s this variety of products that inspires the store’s motto: “Life is short, get Noticed.”

Notice began five years ago as an offshoot of The Custom Framer, a frame shop in Highland Park. Over time, Notice grew from a little gift shop to a well-established women’s store.

Eventually the trio opened two additional stores, one in Evanston and another in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood.

“We branched out to those areas because we like those neighborhoods,” Hannick says. “Those places have more of a Main Street feel to them, instead of a mall feel.”

The trio visits about a dozen trade shows annually to find different products to sell, Hannick says.

“We know our customers and seek goods to fit their tastes,” she says.

Hours: Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat. to 4 p.m.

Apple Creek Flowers

209 N. Throop St., Woodstock, (815) 338-2255,,

This locally owned neighborhood florist has been creating floral arrangements for more than 30 years. Co-owners Lynn Nattress and Wendy Legare took over the shop in 2016; they’re the fifth owners.

Apple Creek carries green plants; silk, dried and fresh-cut flowers; and fresh chocolates made by Anderson’s Candy Shop, which has locations in Richmond and Barrington. The pair’s arrangements can commemorate a variety of occasions, including weddings and funerals. They delight in creating out-of-the-box floral designs.

“We make arrangements that are multipurpose by using creative containers, such as soap/lotion jars and oil/vinegar bottles,” says Nattress. “We also create arrangements that include unique gift items, such as our beautiful oil candles and electric lanterns.”

Legare, a third-generation florist, has worked at Apple Creek for nearly a decade and has been the lead wedding floral designer for about five years. Nattress has been on staff for five years and focuses on customer service.

Hours: Mon.-Fri. 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat. to 2 p.m.