Vintage shoppers, your special weekend is just around the corner.
More than 350 locally owned shops throughout northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin will take part in a Vintage Shop Hop on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 2 and 3, including Oswego, Elburn, Maple Park, Big Rock, Geneva, Batavia, St. Charles and North Aurora. And on the other side of winter, the event returns March 5 and 6, 2021.
In its seventh year, the attraction brings together antique malls, boutiques, pop-up shops, barn sales and home décor and consignment shops for two days’ worth of deals and demonstrations as part of a self-guided road trip experience for vintage and antique lovers.
“It’s tourism in its most raw sense,” said event organizer Ann Campos, who started the Vintage Shop Hop with 180 shops and has seen it grow in popularity. Originally hosting a Shop Hop in the spring only, she now presents two a year in both the spring and fall.
“This is the kind of thing that’s great for a daycation,” she said. “It makes for a very fun day for the shoppers. And this is [a time] when the shops really need our money.”
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 page at www.vintageshophop.blogspot.com. Information also is available through www.facebook.com/vintageshophopevent.
“We just lay it out on a plate for them,” Campos said.
She describes the weekend as “a road trip on steroids.” The event stretches from the Mississippi River on the west to Lake Michigan on the east, goes north to Stevens Point in Wisconsin and south to Interstate 88 in Illinois.
Participating shops are required to have in-store promotions for the weekend, such as demonstrations, discounts, giveaways, raffle drawings, meet-the-artist events, ideas on re-purposing old items, games and more. Many go beyond those offerings to include free refreshments and beautiful displays, Campos said, with some reserving special vintage finds to put out during the weekend.
Shops have offered pop-a-balloon and spin-the-wheel discounts, paint demos and free swag bags, she said, while others create punch-card promotions.
Local participating shops
• Big Rock: Nana’s Nook
• Batavia: 715 Vintage, Batavia Boardwalk Shops, Bee-Attitudes Antiques, Gia Bella Designs, Paula’s Couture Consignment, Red Hive Market, Six + Cypress
• Elburn: Amazing Grace Antiques, Frivolous Treasures, Vinyl & Vintage
• Geneva: Geneva Antique Market, Little Red Barn Door, The Gathering
• Maple Park: Pork ’n Beans Primitives
• North Aurora: Past and Present Shoppes, The Rustic Fox, The Vintage Marketplace Co.
• Oswego: Dusty Road, Happenstance Goods, Hudson Design House, Rejoyce, Stonehouse Market
• St. Charles: trend + relic
Many shops, including those in Woodstock and Crystal Lake, often join together for promotions, Campos said. Businesses participating along Route 14, stretching from Arlington Heights on the east through Barrington, Crystal Lake and Woodstock to the state line, are popular draws during the event, she said.
The outing encourages shoppers to explore not only areas in their own state but their neighboring state, as well, she said. Many of the shops are set in historic and unique buildings, quaint downtowns, century-old barns and a countryside brimming with history.
In the past, shoppers have made a weekend of it as part of a group of friends, Campos said, some even wearing matching T-shirts.
“The event kind of sells itself,” she said. “It’s just a fun road trip day, and, in the meantime, they’re supporting small businesses.”
The event’s Facebook page has grown to more than 30,000 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.
Vintage shopping has become trendy thanks to the many hit home-makeover television shows and magazines, Campos said, and that has contributed to the popularity of the Shop Hop.
“I have no way to measure [the number of shoppers],” she said. “I just know from feedback I receive from the shops. Some shop owners tell me it’s the busiest day by far hands-down of the entire year in their store.”