Check out these unusual and inventive stores around our area.
Vanessa’s Modern Bride
12 W. Campbell St., Arlington Heights, (847) 818-0480, vanessasmodernbride.com
This personalized boutique is a one-stop-shop for brides as well as their family and friends involved in a wedding.
“Typically, a bride who comes in here will be the only bride in the store,” says Lisa Peters, manager. “All of the clothing we have is geared and catered toward women.”
The business specializes in bridesmaids’ dresses, mother-of-the-bride/groom dresses, flower girl dresses, jewelry and accessories.
While this boutique represents a wide variety of styles for all brides, Peters says she’s noticing more women are seeking a sophisticated look.
“These days, brides want to feel like themselves, so they’re not sticking to what their mom and friends want them to wear,” Peters says. “Our average age for brides these days is probably around 30, so they have a better sense of themselves and what feels right for them.”
The store turns over its inventory a few times a year, making it easy to keep up with current trends. Accordingly, Peters frequently hears that her selections are unlike those found elsewhere.
“We take pride in that,” Peters says. “We enjoy hearing that, and it makes things fun and interesting for us.”
Hours: Tues. and Thurs. noon-8 p.m., Fri. to 5 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Riverbottom Ice Cream Co.
301 S. Main St., Algonquin, (224) 678-9438, riverbottomicecream.com
This community staple in Algonquin’s revamped downtown strives to make and serve the best homemade ice cream around.
“We make real ice cream for people who enjoy real ice cream,” says Bob Novak, co-owner with his wife, Bobbie. “Our flavors are infused into the product, making it a delicious, super-premium ice cream.”
The artisan ice cream you’ll find in the cooler represents many flavors, with everyday selections including vanilla, mint, and cookies and cream. There are always daily specials and newly invented flavors.
The business has been serving up ice cream since 2016. It’s located near the Fox River Trail and Prairie Trail. “We loved making ice cream at home, so we decided to do it on a larger scale,” Novak says.
Because the Novaks make their own ice cream, they’re also able to carry vegan and non-dairy flavors, including vanilla and vanilla latte.
You’ll also find locally roasted coffee, with selections including cappuccinos and espressos.
“We can marry the coffee and ice cream together to make coffee floats,” Novak says. “We can even make an ice cream latte here. Our ice cream is steamed and melted, then mixed with espresso, which creates a decadent drink.”
Hours: Tues.-Thurs. 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri. to 10 p.m., Sat. 8 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun. to 9 p.m.
Stanbridge Master Saddlers
122 W. Main St., St. Charles, (630) 945-3956, stanbridgesaddlers.com
Created by equestrians for equestrians in early 2017, this fully stocked equestrian store in downtown St. Charles focuses on area horse riders and products representing European craftsmanship.
With choices in men’s and women’s apparel, including jackets, shirts, belts and saddle pads, the store also carries accessories and gift ideas for equestrians, including horseshoe necklaces, dog accessories and boot covers.
And, as its name suggests, Stanbridge carries a variety of bridles and saddle pads.
The friendly staff offers up saddle check and fittings along with in-house tack repairs.
Education sessions are a regular fixture and include topics for both riders and their horses. Recent sessions include equine bodywork (massage, stretching and range of motion exercises) and the benefits that equestrians get from Pilates. Weekly yoga classes geared toward riders and non-riders alike happen in the evenings.
Hours: Tues., Wed., Fri. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Thurs. to 7 p.m.; Sat. to 5 p.m.; Sun. noon-5 p.m