Top Shops in 2021

Whether you’re looking for a last-minute gift or an excuse to get out this winter, our region’s locally owned businesses are ready to cater – and they’re finding all sorts of ways to provide just what you’re looking for, just how you want it. We found dozens of local stores ready to serve, both in-person and online.

Our small businesses need some serious love this year. Through shutdowns and slowdowns, and all of the other craziness COVID-19 has thrown at them, they’re seriously hurting.

Why not shift some of your shopping dollars to a local company, all while you’re holed up at home?

Sure, it’s nice to log onto Amazon and make a quick purchase. It’s way easier than going out. But did you realize our local retailers are selling online, too? And the experience is something Amazon just can’t match.

As they’ve adapted to changing conditions, our local businesses have found new ways to sell online, whether it’s through a big website or a personal shopping experience. And experience is what these businesses do best.

Better yet, they offer your purchase with super-fast deliveries and convenient drive-up services – with turnaround times that Amazon just can’t beat.

And then there’s the hard reality that, when you spend your money with a local company, you’re supporting your neighbors and friends. These dollars ensure the livelihoods of the business owners and their employees. The sales tax supports your local communities and funds simple things like roads and civil services.

As we head into the final stretch of Christmas shopping and prepare for a cold winter, consider supporting our local businesses any way, at any time. Buy a last-minute gift or shift some family purchases. And, if you’re feeling up to it, head out this winter and see for yourself what’s inside these shops.

In this year’s annual shopping guide, we’ve located a wide range of small businesses all across our region. They provide an incredible range of products and services, and most of these businesses continue to operate online and in person. Look for this logo and find interactive tools that’ll help you to further connect with our local businesses.

Enjoy the adventure that awaits, as you continue to buy and support local!


The Little Traveler → Its tagline, “Around the world in 36 rooms,” is no lie. This sprawling store is filled with unique finds. Store is temporarily closed, with online and personal shopping options available. 404 S. Third St., Geneva,

Galena Cellars → Carries a selection of labels from the Galena-area winery and vineyard, in addition to related accessories for wine lovers. 477 S. Third St., Geneva,

Harvey’s Tales → Bookseller with a wide variety of new titles. 216 James St., Geneva,

Artemesia → Ladies boutique with an eclectic mix of clothing, accessories, furniture and other finds. Art gallery upstairs. 101 S. Third St., Geneva,

Graham’s Fine Chocolates → Handmade chocolates and other sweets. 302 S. Third St., Geneva,

Hahn’s Bakery → Family-owned bakery with more than 25 years of experience in Old World pastries and more. 303 Franklin St., Geneva,

Geneva Antique Market → Located inside the Berry House, in company with other niche retailers, this antique store carries a selection of books, jewelry, seasonal decor and more. 227 S. Third St., Geneva,

Geneva Design House by Strawflower → Interior design studio and home goods retailer, with numerous ideas in floral, area rugs and home decor. 210 W. State St.,

State Street Jewelers → Designer fine jewelry and custom settings. 230 W. State St., Geneva,

The Olive Mill → Artisan olive oils and balsamic vinegars, in addition to other gourmet food products. 315 James St., Geneva,

Mill Race Cyclery → Bicycle shop offering sales of new equipment, accessories, custom jerseys and rentals. Also sells and rents kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, snow skis and snowshoes. 11 E. State St., downtown Geneva,

Geneva Commons → Outdoor shopping mall with big-box stores including Barnes & Noble, Bath & Body Works, Williams Sonoma, Sephora and Pottery Barn. 1534 Commons Dr. (off Randall Road, south of Illinois Rt. 38), Geneva,

3 Cozy Places to “Get Away” Close to Home

Oscar Swan Country Inn, Geneva: Bed-and-breakfast in an 1830s-era mansion, set on 8 wooded acres close to downtown. Reservations at

Hotel Baker, St. Charles: A 100-year-old hotel with luxurious accommodations located in the heart of downtown. Reservations at

Lincoln Way Inn, Franklin Grove: A bed-and-breakfast set inside a lovingly restored, small-town mansion. Owners emphasize “eco” living. Reservations at

Barrington Area

Norton’s USA → Everything in the store is made in America. 400 N. Lageschulte Lane,

Pepper Road & Friends → A collection of homegrown stores specializing in antiques, restored/repurposed furniture and more. Located off Pepper Road, in Lake Barrington.

DIBI Menswear → Specializes in fashion-forward, contemporary sportswear for men, with accessories and wedding-related apparel. 28686 W. Northwest Hwy., Lake Barrington,

Marvin’s Toy Store → Games, toys, books and more, all aimed at exciting and engaging young minds. All products are selected for sustainability and educational value. 100 E. Station St., Also in Crystal Lake.

Steeplechase Antiques → Fine antiques and primitives, with an emphasis on items from English, French, European and American origin. 429 W. Main St.,

M.J. Miller Jewelers → Specializes in highest-quality, fine jewelry and gemstones. Also carries home decor and giftware by Mackenzie-Childs, Heritage Crystal, Deakin & Francis, more. 123 W. Main St.,

Angelina Gift Shop → Eclectic gift shop with a variety of goods, including greeting cards, bath & beauty, hair accessories, jewelry and candles. 200 S. Cook St.,

Deer Park Town Center → Outdoor shopping mall with big-box retailers including Anthropologie, Banana Republic, Crate & Barrel, Lululemon Athletica and Sundance. 20530 N. Rand Road, Deer Park,


Rediscover Records → Record store with hundreds of selections, both in-store and online. 9 Spring St.,

Mama Lee’s Popcorn → Creative popcorn flavors, made on-site. 20 S. Spring St.,

Side Street Studio Arts → A sanctuary for art lovers, with a gallery, events, and lessons. 15 Zeigler Court,

Elgin Antiques & Uniques → Wide variety of antiques, including Elgin Watch artifacts. 207 E. Chicago St.,

Artistic Framing & Supplies → Three decades of experience in custom framing, repair and restoration of fine art. 25 N. Grove Ave.

State Street Market Shops → Antique store with more than 30 “shops” catering to all variety of tastes. 701 N. State St. (Illinois Rt. 31),

Elgin Knit Works → Specialty yarn and knitting store; also offers lessons and “tele-help.” 8 Douglas Ave.,

Soulful Sparrow → Ladies boutique specializing in clothing, accessories and other fun finds. 10 Douglas Ave.

Crystal Lake

Heisler’s Bootery → Family-owned shoe store since 1908, specializing in top brands including Red Wings. 50 N. Williams St.,

La Bellissima → Lingerie store specializing in bras, sleepwear and custom fittings for women of all sizes. Appointment-only, due to COVID. 10 N. Williams St.,

Kitchen Outfitters → Gadgets galore, all related to the kitchen and competitively priced compared with big-box stores. Also carries a selection of gourmet foods. 64 N. Williams St.,

Marvin’s Toy Store → Games, toys, books and more, all aimed at exciting and engaging young minds. All products are selected for sustainability and educational value. 64 A N. Williams St., Also in Barrington.

Running Depot → Running shoes, related apparel and accessories, in addition to custom shoe fittings. Ask about training coaches for adults and youths. 30-H N. Williams St.,

Mellie’s Chocolate → Handmade chocolates and other sweets, including some classic brands. Located in same complex as Crystal Lake Antique Mall – a store that’s well worth the browse. 2 N. Williams St.,

Wear Did U Get That → Women’s boutique with a constantly changing selection of jeans, sweaters, dresses and accessories. 66 N. Williams St.,

Mum 117 → Focusing on home goods with an artistic touch, this store carries home accessories, women’s clothing, fine art and books. 37 N. Williams St.,

Lucky Brake Bicycles → Retailer of new and used bikes and related accessories. Includes service department. Ask about group rides. 470 W. Virginia St.,

Reprographics → Family-owned fine art supply store, boasting one of the area’s largest selections. Also offers printing services. 26 Crystal Lake Plaza (off Northwest Highway/U.S. 14),

For Some Unusual Finds: East/West Dundee

Around the Corner Candy: Wide selection of nostalgic candies. 101 S. First St., West Dundee.

Midwest Retro: Home decor and vintage/antique furniture. 207 Barrington Ave., East Dundee.

The Uncommon Palate: Unique specialty foods, clean label foods and housewares. 316-A N. River St., East Dundee.

St. Charles

Clean as a Whisker → Doggie salon and spa with a “stress-free” full service for dogs and cats of all sizes. 322 W. Main St.,

Rocket Fizz → Old-school candy store with hundreds of classic candies, novelties and soda flavors. 301 W. Main St.,

Breadsmith → Bread baked fresh daily. Includes classic, European-inspired recipes and specialties like apple cinnamon. 121 N. Second St.,

Town House Books → Seller of new books, set in a lovingly kept 19th-century home. 105 N. Second Ave.,

St. Charles History Museum Gift Shop → Local mementos, St. Charles-branded apparel and more. Order online while museum is temporarily closed. 215 E. Main St.,

Great Gift Idea: Locally Crafted Beer, Wine & Spirits

All locations include Tap Room, to-go options and retail

Crystal Lake Brewing, downtown Crystal Lake
Scorched Earth Brewing, Algonquin
McHenry Brewing Co., McHenry
Penrose Brewing, Geneva
Rush Creek Distilling, Harvard
Whiskey Acres Distilling, DeKalb
Copper Fiddle Distilling, Lake Zurich
Acquaviva Winery, Maple Park
Waterman Winery & Vineyards, Waterman


Roscoe Woodstock Antique Mall → Two levels of carefully curated antiques representing a wide range of niches, including coin-operated machines, art, vintage jewelry and mid-century modern. 890 Lake Ave.,

Thoughtfulness Shop → An eclectic array of treasures, including Nora Fleming, Vera Bradley, Chala handbags and Department 56. 104 Cass St.,

Read Between the Lynes → Hometown seller of new book titles, including those from local authors. If it’s not in stock, staff can still find it. Stop by on Saturday morning for children’s storytime. 111 E. Van Buren St.,

Ethereal Confections → The main attraction is housemade chocolate, sourced directly from growers with an eye toward organic and fair treatment/pay. Also has food and spirit/cocktail menu. 140 Cass St.,

Material Things Artisan Market → Artist and owner Ken West has filled the store with unique treasures crafted in his studio and by other artisans. 103 E. Van Buren St.,

Casting Whimsy Tea → Handcrafted, loose-leaf teas mixed in-house in small batches. Many varieties are seasonal, so selections are always changing. 203 Main St.,

Apple Creek Flowers → For 35 years, providing fresh floral arrangements for special occasions. Also sells home decor and gifts. 207 N. Throop St.,

Woodstock Harley-Davidson → Dealer of new and pre-owned Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Also services bikes and sells related gear. 2235 S. Eastwood Dr.,

Worth the Drive

Strode’s Furniture: Old-school furniture shop, with a knack for quality-made American furniture. Located in downtown Huntley.

York Furrier: Family-owned retailer of furs and other fine outerwear and accessories. Located in downtown Elmhurst.

Steel Heart Ltd.: Sells more than 1,000 handmade metal goods for home and garden decor. Located in Harvard.

Ginger Blossom: A former farmstead filled with interesting finds gathered directly from makers around the world. Located west of Richmond.

PrairieFire Golf & Grill: Indoor/outdoor driving range with augmented-reality technology, heated bays and indoor dining. Located at PrairieView Golf Course, Byron.

Ukulele Station: Retailer of quality ukuleles. Located in Oregon.

The Bramble Patch: Specializes in Polish pottery and homemade maple syrup. Located in New Glarus, Wis.