Nooks & Crannies, Winter Edition

Check out these unusual and inventive stores around our area.

Alpine Accessories

9219 S. Illinois Route 31, Lake in the Hills, (847) 854-4754,

What started out as a ski accessory catalog has blossomed into a sprawling business.

Alpine Accessories carries new and used skis, boots, goggles, clothing and helmets. It also has a full-service department for repairs, installations, adjustments and boot fittings.

“We are a one-stop shop,” says Rick Pasturczak, owner and a die-hard skier.
Pasturczak started the business in his basement as a mail order catalog in 1993, and in 1995 he started selling products online. Inventory went so quickly that he opened a storefront in 2003.

For much of its first eight years, the store grew by 30 percent annually, Pasturczak says.
During the summer, Alpine Accessories sells summer equipment, including 20 models of paddleboards and related accessories. It’s convenient, since Three Oaks Recreation Area, in Crystal Lake, is right up the road.

“We also have a facility by the lake, and we rent paddleboards,” Pasturczak says.

Alpine Accessories has grown to the point where Pasturczak is thinking about expanding again.

“We’re looking at the people next door to us, because we can knock out another wall and keep expanding,” he says.

Hours: Mon. 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Thurs. to 6 p.m.; Tues-Wed., Fri.-Sat. to 5 p.m.

Tattered Tiques

22029 Pepper Road, Unit 2, Lake Barrington, (224) 633-9750,

Instead of visiting flea markets to sell her merchandise, Julie Abernathey now buys items at flea markets to sell.

“We go all over the Midwest looking for products, “ says Abernathey, who owns the store with her mother, Nancy Mokszycki, and her sister, Anne Leahy.

Inside a 2,000-square-foot warehouse, the business has plenty of antiques, rustic home items and seasonal goods available.

Tattered Tiques is one of 10 shops within the Pepper Road and Friends collective of antique, vintage and boutique shops located along this business corridor off U.S. Route 14/Northwest Highway.

When Abernathey lived in Iowa about 20 years ago, she regularly attended Iowa farm auctions. She accumulated so many items that she had to sell them at local flea markets when moving to Illinois. About eight years ago, she established a permanent location.

“We got sick of hauling everything around,” she says. “We thought opening our own shop would be much easier.”

The store also hosts regular paint classes, designed to show customers the proper way to paint antique items. Two versions of paint are kept in stock.
“We’re all trained to lead the class,” Abernathey says. “We do monthly classes, and we want everyone to feel comfortable painting.”

Hours: Thurs.-Sat. 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Tues. 9 a.m.-noon. Open most weekends.

Little Red Barn Door

227 S. Third St., Geneva, (630) 402-0072

This unique home decor business might be small, but it packs a lot of punch.

One of the newest shops at downtown Geneva’s Berry House, the Little Red Barn Door features rustic furniture, vintage kitchen items, architectural salvage and other home decor, including candles, blankets and signage.
The 700-square-foot store has been open for about a year.

“We have sort of a rustic farmhouse look,” says Sylvia Torres, owner. “Since we have a small space, we change things up quickly and we add new inventory. We’ve gotten a really good response for just starting, and hopefully we can keep it going.”

Before she opened the store, Torres sold items she didn’t have any use for. To her surprise, people began purchasing things at a rapid pace.

“It blew up from there,” she says. “My husband told me I should open a store. We found this space, and it was perfect.”

Torres has no prior retail experience, so she’s running the store her way.
“I do giveaways every month, I give away goodie bags during special events and I give discounts,” Torres says. “Sometimes, if kids come in and they like certain things, I’ll gift them things. People think I’m very giving, but that’s how I am.”

Hours: Tues.-Wed., Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thurs.-Sat. to 6 p.m.

Bradley’s Department Store

222 E. Walworth Ave., Delavan, Wis., (262) 728-3405

This general store has been a staple in Delavan for 167 years and counting.
“I don’t have any grandkids, so this store is like my grandchild,” says Lois Stritt, Bradley’s fifth owner.

The store carries clothing and accessories for both men and women, in styles ranging from classic to trendy. It carries contemporary brands including Brighton, Vera Bradley and Woolrich.

“We’re a generational store,” Stritt says. “We have people come in and say their grandparents used to shop here.”

Stritt has spent most of her life as a homemaker, so after her husband, Jack, retired and sold his paint manufacturing business in 2002, Stritt wanted something to do.

She started working for former Bradley’s owners Bill and Diane McKoy, who were close friends with the Stritts.

The McKoys wanted to sell the store a short time later, so the Stritts offered to buy it. Jack died on Feb. 25, 2010, and Lois assumed full ownership of the store just a few days later.

The 82-year-old says she enjoys what she does and plans to keep the Bradley’s tradition going for as long as she can.

“I love this store because it keeps me young,” she says with a laugh. “As long as my health holds up, I plan on being here.”

Hours: Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. noon-4 p.m.