A growing cluster of specialty boutiques is changing the vibe and streetscape of a long neglected section of Glenview’s downtown shopping district.
Thriving Glenview Avenue home furnishings newcomers Mandarine Home and The Twisted Trunk join longstanding retailers Morning Glory Florist and The Lamp Shader to form an emergent design district and shopping destination.
At Mandarine Home, the high-end furniture, lighting, and accessories store that opened two years ago at 1820 Glenview Avenue, business is booming.
Owners Courtney Chessen and Lori Waller have dual roles running both an interior design business and their bustling, ornate shop. The pair said Mandarine’s well-priced artwork, accent pieces, and custom furniture sell particularly well. Many of their customers visit the store regularly from area communities.
“We’ve had clients ask us to supply art for their entire house, from bedrooms to basement,” said Chessen. “Other customers come in looking for the perfect lamp or throw pillow.”
Recently, Winnetka residents Christy Kaskey and Ann Fitzpatrick were headed back to their cars after working out at neighboring Core Power Yoga when they popped into Mandarine to survey the boutique’s latest offerings.
“I come in here after class about every other week,” said Kaskey. “I’m a knick-knack person so it’s all about what will fit in my house.”
Ten years ago, this sleepy section of Glenview Road stretching from Waukegan Road to Depot Street was home to vacant storefronts and a handful of old-timer tenants on long-term leases. A combination of tough economic times and competing stores at The Glen took its toll on this section of town.
“I grew up in Glenview,” said Fitzpatrick. “So it’s nice to see the downtown area coming back.”
Two doors down at upscale furniture consignment store The Twisted Trunk, owner Diane Thomas is enjoying a steady flow of customers looking to buy, sell or repurpose antique furniture. A Glenview native, Thomas specializes in reselling quality chandeliers, chairs, tables, bed frames and bureaus that have timeless appeal. With beautifully curated furniture vignettes and unusual curios scattered throughout the store, The Twisted Trunk has the atmosphere of an exotic market bazaar, bursting with undiscovered treasures.
“My typical consignment client is downsizing or redecorating and looking to get rid of some high-value pieces they invested in years ago,” said Thomas, who provides free furniture pick-up with her service.
As a demonstration of what Thomas calls, “good karma,” Mandarine Home and The Twisted Trunk often share customers.
“If one of our home design clients is starting over with a fresh look, they’ll consign many of their best furniture pieces with Diane,” said Chessen. “When another customer is searching for a specific antique to finish a room, we recommend The Twisted Trunk.”
Local residents looking to accent their homes with a bundle of perfect Dutch peonies need look no further than neighboring Morning Glory Flower Shop, whose storefront is nestled alongside these two busy boutiques. Owner Barbara Hausheer, who opened her Glenview Road store 12 years ago and also operates a second location on Central Avenue in Wilmette, reports her walk-in business has picked up considerably in recent years.
“It’s really nice to have these two shops next door,” said Hausheer, who does a brisk wedding business in addition to selling seasonal fresh cut flowers to her loyal customer base. “For a long time, there was nothing.”
Three blocks away at 1710 Maclean Court, longstanding Glenview lighting specialist, The Lamp Shader, is still going strong after 43 years in business. Although the store’s founder, Don Uteg, recently handed the store’s reigns to new owner, Jamie Plunkett, the boutique’s core business remains the same. Well known to the North Shore’s top designers, The Lamp Shader stocks shades in all shapes, colors and sizes, but also runs a service rewiring antique lighting fixtures and custom designing new one-of-a-kind lamps.
Both Uteg and Plunkett believe the future of downtown retail is in the hands of small, service-oriented shops offering unique, specialized products and expertise.
“It used to be that people would frequent big box stores because they carried absolutely everything,” said Uteg. “Now people seek out a small store because it has the one thing they need.”
For more information, stop by the stores or visit the retailers’ websites: