Check out these unusual and inventive stores around our area.
121 S. Main St., Wauconda, (847) 526-8138, frameshopwauconda.1wp.com
When Kelly Lincoln purchased The Frame Shop in 2004, framing was the business’ sole focus. But the avid music lover eventually expanded its scope. For five years now, Lincoln has been growing his collection of vinyl records as well as music and pop culture memorabilia.
“I’ve been selling records and attending shows ever since I was in high school,” Lincoln says. “The record phenomenon started making a comeback, so I started buying records, and I’ve been selling them ever since.” Other music forms, including CDs and cassette tapes, are also available.
“I got my chance to live out a childhood dream, which was to open a music store,” Lincoln says.
The music and memorabilia side is an extension of Lincoln’s continuing strength.
“We can frame sports jerseys, pictures, and pop culture items like comics and posters,” Lincoln says. “Framing has always been the core of the business.”
He doesn’t like to use the term “customer” because he’s developed friendships with people who’ve visit the store.
“I don’t think there’s another store that’s doing anything like we’re doing,” he says.
Hours: Tues.-Fri. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat. to 5 p.m.
1717 N. Richmond Road, McHenry, (815) 385-4500, naturescornucopia.com
Artificial sweeteners and high-fructose corn syrup are just a few things you won’t find inside this store.
“We have strictly health foods, vitamins and supplements,” says owner Anne Worth, who opened the shop in 1999.
The store is small, at just 1,800 square feet, but it’s packed with a wide range of products. It carries meat, including poultry, fish and grass-fed beef, as well as a variety of cheeses including organic and goat-based varieties. Worth also sells essential oil blends and water filters.
But that’s just the start.
“The meat we sell is locally sourced, and we also have a very large gluten-free section,” Worth says. “We also stock mostly non-GMO and organic foods.”
Worth is also a nutritional consultant who can help you make healthy changes.
“When you’re in a small setting, things are more intimate,” Worth says. In a smaller store, you feel that personal touch that you can’t get in a larger store.”
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat. to 5 p.m., Sun. to 3 p.m.
The Tea Tree
29 N. River St., Batavia, (630) 425-3340, theteatreeshop.com
Missi Hartmann has been drinking tea since she was a girl, so she knows a thing or two about tea. But her cozy little store is filled with much more.
“You can go to a shop that has essential oils and you can go to a shop that has olive oil and vinegars or just spices or tea,” she says. “Three years before I opened, I said, ‘Why couldn’t we put all of these things in one place?’”
After directing spa and wellness centers for about 15 years and working as a stay-at-home mom for another 10, she launched The Tea Tree three years ago. Her specialties are loose-leaf tea, essential oils, gourmet olive oils, balsamic vinegars and fresh spices – all of which derive from small farms, organic farms and small businesses.
The Tea Tree has plenty of tea flavors, from a pure green tea to a variety that tastes like apple pie. There’s a selection of unique olive oils, including some infused with bacon or habanero. And, the spice selection is diverse, with choices such as kosher salt, coarse black pepper, rib rubs and Cajun seasonings.
An intimate gathering place is neatly positioned in the front of the store, inviting people to enjoy a cup of tea with a friend or loved one.
“This is just an overall great, quiet little spot,” Hartmann says.
Hours: Tues., Fri.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Wed.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sun. noon-5 p.m.