Check out these unusual and inventive stores around our area.
1739 DeKalb Ave., Sycamore, (815) 895-3377, ddjewelers.com
Dawn Sukach grew up untangling bundles of antique jewelry she collected at flea markets.
When she was older, she landed a job with Coopers Jewelry, a longtime Sycamore jeweler, and in 2000 she purchased the business with her husband, Don. Operating today under a new name, the husband-and-wife duo specialize in classic jewelry with a twist.
Their offerings vary in design, style and color, and feature items such as demantoids (a unique type of garnet) and a line of men’s sterling silver rings, necklaces and bracelets. The Sukachs additionally offer custom designs, repairs, engravings, pearl restringing, gold and silver buying, and insurance appraisals. They can even alter legacy jewelry and give it a little personal flair.
For Dawn, the most rewarding part of this work is the ability to add someone’s personality to a piece of jewelry.
“I always like to throw a little bit of a surprise in there to make it yours – your personality, your style, your kind of design detail,” she says. “A lot of our engagement rings have a little bit of a design personality in them.”
Hours: Tues., Thu., Fri. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Wed. to 7 p.m.; Sat. to 3 p.m.
5186 Northwest Hwy., Ste. 130, Crystal Lake, (815) 526-3135, millies-playland.com
Jon Magro was battling Stage 3 throat cancer in 2019 when he and his wife, Alicia, found the answer to a million-dollar question: How do we keep our 2-year-old daughter busy this winter?
The result became a light of hope for Magro as he and several friends built an indoor playland where his daughter and other small children could use their imaginations.
At Millie’s Playland, which is named for Magro’s daughter, children 6 and under can engage in imaginative and interactive play with everything from cars and planes to slides, a commercial-grade bubble-making machine and what’s billed as the world’s largest stuffed sloth.
Each room is centered around a different theme. Children marvel at the interactive toys, simulations and outfits that make them feel like firefighters, construction workers, police officers, princesses and farmers.
Magro also offers a rentable indoor theater with a 120-inch screen, a dining area, and a kitchen available for birthday parties, movie nights or presentations.
“It has been a true joy and has helped me in so many ways,” says Magro, who is now cancer-free. “To see people come in here and go ‘Oh my gosh, this is so awesome,’ it melts me.”
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Sun. to noon.
211 W. State St., Geneva, (630) 730-9302, inluro.com
Rob and Susi Brucato spent most of their careers in banking until they decided they wanted to create a unique retail experience.
Formerly known as Scentcerely Yours, this store features a scent wall with more than 100 premium fragrance oils ranging from lilac and eucalyptus to more unique scents like baked bread, Fruit Loops and old books.
Customers are guided through the custom scent mixing process by scent consultants. Pre-made single-scent products are also available for purchase, including products like candles, fragrance mist, reed diffusers, liquid hand soap, sower gel, disinfectant spray, shea butter lotion and sugar scrub, to name a few.
DIY kits are available to bring the custom scent making experience into your home. Through their Scent Your Brand program, the Brucatos work with local and national businesses to help them create a signature scent for their brand to stay top-of-mind with customers 24/7.
“Our unique experience is what differentiates us,” says Rob. “When we explain the opportunity to customers where they can create their signature scent, people are intrigued. There’s a real sense of pride in making something that is not available anywhere else.”
Hours: Wed.-Sat. 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Sun. to 5 p.m.