Count Lake County as a destination this weekend as shop owners unite to draw vintage and antique lovers.
At least a dozen locally owned shops, including seven in Antioch, will take part in a Vintage Shop Hop on Friday and Saturday.
The ninth annual event features 400 antique malls, boutiques, pop-up shops, barn sales and home décor and consignment shops throughout northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. All will offer two days’ worth of discounts, door prizes, games and treats, demonstrations, swag bags, live music, food trucks and more as part of a self-guided road trip experience.
An interactive Google map and master list of shops – printable and accessible on mobile devices while shoppers travel – can be found on the event’s blog at www.vintageshophop.blogspot.com. Information also is available through www.facebook.com/vintageshophopevent.
“These stores literally roll out the red carpet for you. They plan months ahead,” said Heather Fenzel, who co-owns Family Heirloom Antiques in Antioch with her brother, Ben Jr. “We want to make the best experience for customers who have never been to our shop and for our returning customers. It’s all about giving them a fantastic experience, and it’s about showcasing our town.”
As shoppers shop, those involved in the event are hoping they also stop at local businesses for food and drink, maybe even make a weekend of it by staying overnight at a local hotel or bed and breakfast.
Antioch has worked to promote both the event and the village.
“The trick is getting people to Antioch, and everyone who comes to Antioch falls in love with it,” said Jim Moran, communication specialist for the village. “People stick around. … It’s a great event, and it’s great when our businesses work together like this.”
The coming together of small businesses is what Ann Campos had in mind when she started the Vintage Shop Hop years ago. The event began with 180 shops and continues to grow. Originally hosting a shop hop in the spring only, Campos now hosts two shop hops a year in both the spring and fall.
The event’s Facebook page has grown to more than 47,000 followers since its beginning, said Campos, who organized the Shop Hop after outgrowing a vintage event called Nellie’s Barn Sale in her hometown of Roscoe, Illinois.
“Every year it gets more and more and more popular with the shoppers and actually the shop owners,” she said. “There’s always new shops every year that partake, and we’ve had a lot of shops with us all nine years. That, in itself, speaks volumes to know it works for them.”
The event provides an outlet especially for smaller towns such as Antioch to promote themselves as destinations and boost local tax dollars, she said.
Shoppers can discover nearby businesses for the first time and explore areas in their own or neighboring state. Among the shops are those set in historical and unique buildings, quaint downtowns, century-old barns and countryside brimming with history.
Shoppers aren’t expected to get to all 400 stores in a weekend. The map of participating stores will remain online at www.vintageshophop.blogspot.com until the next Vintage Shop Hop. Shoppers can visit any of the shops other times as well.
Marketed as “the best road trip ever,” the weekend event draws all sorts of shoppers, from individuals to groups of friends.
“The experience, the camaraderie, the shenanigans that take place when you’re with your girlfriends in the car, that’s what it’s all about,” Campos said. “That’s why it’s so much fun and that’s why we get return shoppers every year, and the store owners love it, and this is for a lot of them their biggest weekend.”
Vintage shopping has become trendy, thanks to the many hit home makeover TV shows and magazines, Campos said, and that has contributed to the popularity of the shop hop.
“It’s morphed and taken on a life of its own,” she said.
Selling “a little bit of everything,” from vintage tools to garden décor to vintage clothing, Fenzel of Family Heirloom Antiques said she hosts fun games every year for the shop hop. This year, it’s a version of a plinko game, similar to the game featured on the TV show, “The Price is Right.”
Customers can take either a 10% discount or risk it and play the plinko game for something more.
Featuring more than 300 vendors, along with its own products, Great Lakes Antique Boutique in Antioch and Grayslake offers unusual and unique finds, owner Lauri Tobias said.
She’s hoping the Vintage Shop Hop exposes her business to more shoppers.
“It’s kind of like an Etsy shop,” she said. “You can come into the store and see everybody’s incredible stuff.”
At Ms. Peddler’s Boutique in Antioch, shoppers will be treated to mimosas in the morning, wine slushie mixers, cider and more as they explore handmade products from 52 local artisans, owner Laura Foster said. The store specializes in hand-painted furniture.
“You’ll find stuff here that you won’t find anywhere else,” she said.
Lake County businesses participating:
• Family Heirloom Antiques, 1098 Main St., Antioch
• Great Lakes Antiques Boutique, 1615 Main St., Antioch
• Inspired Home, 959 Main St., Antioch
• Rustic and Reclaimed Market, 927 Main St., Antioch
• Ms. Peddler’s Boutique, 901 Main St., Antioch
• Vintage Mercantile, 897 Main St., Antioch
• Wilmot Heritage Antiques and Gifts, 400 Lake St., Antioch
• Closet Traders, 31 S. Seymour Ave., Grayslake
• Great Lakes Antiques Boutique 2, 15 Commerce Drive, Grayslake
• Painted Tree Boutiques, 20771 N Rand Road, Kildeer
• Acostas Home, 540 Cortland Drive, Lake Zurich
• Maison Plunder, 800 N. Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville
• Reclaimed Artisans Inc., 302 Peterson Road, Libertyville