Nooks & Crannies: Spring Edition

Check out these unusual and inventive stores around our area.

Trend + Relic

1501 Indiana Ave., St. Charles, (630) 803-5253,

When you find the perfect item at Trend + Relic, you might want to thank Karri Custardo’s neighbor, who introduced Custardo to fellow co-owner Heather Corcoran.

“Heather is a real estate agent,” says Custardo, who launched the store after running a similar one in Winfield. “We started looking at properties for my new business and, by the time we found our location, we were going into business together.”

Corcoran’s expertise, which includes design and painting, matches Custardo’s. Together they’ve converted a former label printing plant into a creative co-op with booths for almost 50 artists, refinishers, painters and other creators.

Shoppers who enter the 11,000-square-foot, high-ceilinged space should make time to browse the new and vintage home decor items, clothing, jewelry, and handcrafted and refinished furniture, all carefully curated and placed on display. One of the vendors, an interior designer, is on hand to consult with shoppers.

After more than doubling the store in its first year, Trend + Relic continues to grow in size and popularity.

“We love being in St. Charles,” says Custardo. “We love having a business here and filling this kind of need.”

Hours: Tue.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

The Running Depot

30H N. Williams St., Crystal Lake, (815) 788-9755,

Longtime runner Pam Andrews opened this shop in 2002 to pass on her love of the sport. Twenty years later, The Running Depot is a fixture for area athletes.

The store carries top shoe brands like Saucony, Aetrex, Mizuno, Altra and Asics, and there’s a full line of clothing from Sugoi, Nathans, CEP and more. Find socks from Balega, Feetures and Injinji; GU Energy Gel and PowerBars; runners’ earphones; hydration packs; blister cream; shoe inserts; cold weather gear; training aids and much more.

Staff members can help customers find the right shoe using the latest technology and a treadmill that allows customers to “test drive” shoes before purchase. Staff members are themselves experienced runners who also work as personal coaches on the side.

An active runner who participates in all kinds of races, Andrews hosts “Fun Runs” on Wednesdays and Saturdays, spring through fall, for anyone who wishes to participate. There’s also a Zephyr Training Team for youngsters in grades 3-5.

Hours: Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Sat. to 6 p.m., Sun. to 4 p.m.

Blue Moon Bikes

211 W. State St., Sycamore, (815) 899-3100,

The experts at this full-service bicycle shop not only repair new bikes but specialize in classic and antique bikes, parts, restoration and repair. They also buy and trade old bikes.

Owner Rod Griffis, who opened his shop in 2002, has been an antique bicycle collector for almost 20 years, and he specializes in the Schwinn Sting-Ray Krate series. The three floors of this building in historic downtown Sycamore are all bikes, all the time.

On the main floor is everything for today’s cyclists, from parts and accessories to a full line of bicycles from companies like Schwinn, Raleigh and Redline. Repairs, tune-ups and customizations are available for all brands.

The second floor holds original classic bikes and reproductions for sale or trade, and there’s even a collection of new (never used) stock parts.

The third floor showcases Griffis’ extensive collection of antique and classic Schwinn bikes. Here are some rare models like a high-wheel bike, but the bulk of the display is from the Schwinn Sting-Ray Krate series – one of each model from every year it was produced, from 1968 and 1973. Visitors can visit the third floor any time.

Hours: Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.