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New store offers vintage art and more in downtown Wauconda

WAUCONDA – Life-long Wauconda resident Mary Forner Piekarski knows that those who appreciate vintage art and antiques are willing to travel for a great find. 

And while the location of her new store, Vintage Art & Findings, in downtown Wauconda will be a welcome treat for neighbors and nearby residents, Piekarski said the new store should also attract shoppers from throughout northern Illinois.

“I already had a lady from Highland Park come and others from farther areas,“ Piekarski said. “I use to have a spot in Chicago, but I decided, ‘Why not open where I was born.’”

Piekarski celebrated the opening of Vintage Art & Findings with family, friends and village officials Feb. 13 during a ribbon cutting.

Her current location, at 229 Barrington Road, Wauconda, previously housed a music store, TV store, a flower cottage and an ice house and is more than 100 years old, she said, adding that she enjoys the history of building.

Piekarski said her store features “vintage re-purpose art and décor for annual, parental, and architectural use.”

Walking inside one can see vintage and re-purposed furniture, housewares, garden accessories, locally designed artwork and even knit-dog coats, among other items.

Piekarski expects to generate a steady stream of new inventory thanks to the many collectors and artists already inquiring about opportunities to showcase their work, she said. 

“The feedback and enthusiasm has been very overwhelming and inspiring,” she said. “And in the next couple of months I hope to start classes and workshops for the community to get creative. We have a unique mix of artists such as cobblers from Italy who have art here.”

Piekarski credits her friend Jill Ryan, several loyal customers and her family for encouraging her to open the store – and said shoppers should expect to see her family members around the vintage shop.

“You never know which family member will be at the shop helping me – my husband, Carl; my son, Austin; my sister; my brother; my mom or even my dog, Lucky,” she said. “My parents have been a huge influence in my life. From my dad teaching me how to drill, sand and saw to my mom who has been my biggest supporter in not only my life, but in my new venture.”

Kathy Upton has been Piekarski’s friend for 10 years and said she appreciates Piekarski’s eye for unique finds. 

“I have known Mary for a long time and used to go to her old shop,” Upton said. “I buy picture frames, copper and other unique things found nowhere else.”

Carl Piekarski said the store “will attract people who are collectors, especially of the vintage art in the store. Not only do we sell vintage art and antiques, but the name is something new and will give people an incentive to check us out.”

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