Shop Hop brings treasures

By Ryan Janovic

DeKALB — Lovers of trinkets and curiosities can mark their calendars for March 2 and 3 because the fifth annual Vintage Shop Hop road trip is coming to DeKalb.

Antique stores from across southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois will offer deals and promotions during the event. Local shops invite customers to pick up rare findings and support small businesses.

“Our events are really busy, [and] there is definitely a boost in traffic,” Jana Nowak, owner of Blu Door Decor, 209 E. Lincoln Highway, said.

Specializing in painted furniture and ladies’ apparel, Blu Door Decor is one of 14 participating DeKalb shops. Customers can expect friendly service, antique home decor and a creativity-nurturing environment.

“I get [a lot of] college kids who want to paint,” Nowak said. “I always tell them to go to Goodwill or get a garage sale item that’s not worth a lot. Paint it and add a little color to your dorm or apartment.”

Another participating store is Antique Treasures, 218 E. Lincoln Highway, run by husband and wife team Jeff and Mara Metzger. Shoppers who step into Antique Treasures are met by a warm aesthetic cultivated by the Metzgers, who have been in the business for over 20 years.

“[My wife] had been in Sandwich for 19 years before opening this up,” Jeff said. “We’re seeing a different clientele up here than what she saw down in Sandwich. We’re seeing a lot more of the younger people. We’re getting a real nice mix.”

Antique Treasures will offer 10 percent off their items during the Shop Hop. Jeff said they specialize in antique furniture, as well as handmade candles from other states.

DeKalb’s participating stores will also offer a “Girls Getaway Weekend” raffle, although men are also eligible to win. Winners will receive dinner and drinks at Tapa La Luna, 226 E. Lincoln Highway, and one night accomodation at the Hampton Inn, 663 S. Annie Glidden Road.

Also included in the package are four tickets to see “CHEFS: A Sizzling Kitchen Showdown,” an interactive event where buff men cook, competing to keep their shirts on. The show is March 24 at the Egyptian Theatre, 135 N. Second St.

Urban Grace, 255 E. Lincoln Highway, is another locally run antique store offering customers a chance to indulge their antique curiosities in a friendly environment.

“I feel like I offer great customer service. I love to socialize with them,” Rachel Polly, owner of Urban Grace, said. “I don’t fit the typical mold of what a store is. It’s a genuine mixture of unique things that you can’t find at other places.”

Students don’t need to travel far to satisfy their shopping desires as every store participating is within a five minute drive from campus.

Despite the diversity of shopping experiences, the different stores have one call to arms they’d like to share with university students: come explore downtown DeKalb.

“I want people to know downtown is a great place to come to,” Polly said. “We want more people to shop, eat, hangout and grab some coffee.”