Resale shop booming during holidays
Stella Fontana of Highland Park looks through items at the Lake Forest Resale Shop, which collects donated items to sell to benefit three charity organizations. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 28, 2013 2:43PM
Shopping at this resale boutique is more than about getting a great bargain.
Profits from sales at Diana Durkes’ Lake Forest Resale Shop go to help the needy. The Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association, Mothers Trust Foundation and Cancer Wellness Center are all supported in part through money made at the non-profit shop. Shoppers come from throughout the North Shore, including Highland Park.
“Many people aren’t aware of what we are,” said Durkes, who moved into the two-story space in downtown Lake Forest a year and a half ago.
A former manager of a Crate & Barrel, the Evanston resident started up the shop in the same retail space where the Lake Forest Hospital Women’s Auxiliary ran a resale shop for years.
Donations to Lake Forest Resale Shop come right from residents in the community, she said. And donations have poured in for the holidays.
“We have everything from lights to ornaments to holiday décor, toys for children – new – tabletop decorations and holiday sweaters,” Durkes said.
Recycling used items is a big part of what the shop emphasizes, she said. White ceramic cabinet knobs are put on the shop’s walls to hang ornaments, as are branches found at the beach.
“We incorporate a lot of recycled goods in the décor in the shop,” she said. “We like to emphasize the recycling of items to our customers. I am known as the Chief Recycling Officer.”
Durkes even offers drop-in workshops to teach customers how to upcycle old items — turning them into something new and different.
“We teach them how to take a shirt and turn it into a market bag,” Durkes said as one example.
Providing customers with a pleasant shopping experience is important, Durkes said, adding her shop is fully decorated.
“It’s more like shopping in a boutique,” she said.
A core of 12 volunteers help to keep the shop staffed, stocked and ready to go.
“New things are coming in all the time. It’s like going on a treasure hunt,” said Rosemary Troxel of Lake Forest, who has volunteered for years. “You really can find some things you don’t see anywhere else.”
Volunteer Linda Coe of Lake Forest said she finds the environment “captivating” and feels the people who work there and the customers are like one big family.
“There’s no pressure on people,” Coe said. “They feel welcome and have a good time shopping and looking.”