A Tisket, a Tasket, a Bicycle with a Basket
John F. Kennedy once said, “Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride.” Jay Shlifka has known this since 1968, when his parents opened Kiddles Sports in Lake Forest’s historic Market Square. Originally opening as a hardware store, Shlifka’s father kept the lights on by selling paint and tools, but it was the bikes he sold from the basement that brought him joy. Sporting goods and bicycles happily took center stage when the Shlifkas acquired the space next door in 1975.
Jay Shlifka and his sons now run this third-generation family-owned store and will provide curbside service for all of your cycling needs. Do you need a snappy new Electra with a basket and bell? Could your favorite vintage bicycle use a tune up from a skilled bike mechanic? Are you coveting a road bike for treks along the North Shore Bike Path? Call the Kiddles team and they will have you ready to enjoy, as JFK said, the simple pleasure of a bike ride. Their current hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (closed on Thursdays and Sundays); they also offer free bicycle repair pick-up. Kiddles Sports is located at 258 Market Square in Lake Forest, 847-234-0025, kiddlessports.com.
Valentina Thriving through Instagram
Valentina opened its Lake Forest doors in 2012, inspired by continual requests from their Penny’s from Heaven customers to create a store for older girls and women. The store’s aesthetic is one of ease and comfort, offering casual and comfortable clothes as well as home and gift items, “that we think are appealing, whether to look at or simply because they make you feel good,” shares owner, Sarah Scott. “We buy what we like, of course staying on trend, but really following our own sense of style. We know what will sell and have the confidence to do our own thing.”
Customers enjoy shopping Valentina’s ‘vignettes’ of specific categories—party, gifts for men, frames, books, and equestrian, to name a few—and they love the experience of being in such a happy place. Sarah says, “We really just want everyone to enjoy themselves and leave feeling good! We don’t take ourselves too seriously. We want our customers to leave feeling as though they have found something comfortable or the perfect gift.” They have pivoted creatively—and successfully— during the temporary COVID closings by selling through Instagram Stories and FaceTime appointments, and offering curbside pick-up and free local delivery. “We have learned that the connection we share with our customers can be transcribed through Instagram, where the communication often leads to a phone call or a long text exchange. This is so important to us and we truly believe we can attribute our success to this kinship of sorts.”
Valentina is located at 227 E. Westminster Avenue in Lake Forest, 847-535-9600. To shop via Instagram visit @shopvalentina, then leave a message at the store or text Sarah at 847-337-7575.