La Grange shop offers charm with a vintage flair
Vintage Charm owner Nancy Allodi is shown at the business La Grange. | Buzz Orr~Sun-Times Media
On the clock
Name: Vintage Charm
Address: 729 Hillgrove Ave., La Grange
Phone: (708) 354-1553
Website: www.shopvintagecharm.com with listings on Facebeook, Twitter and Pinterest.
Updated: September 25, 2012 10:22AM
LA GRANGE — Surround yourself with the things you love, but don’t get too attached might be Nancy Allodi’s business model.
The owner of Vintage Charm in La Grange spends hours poring through antique markets and fairgrounds around the Midwest, but in the end, all of her treasures are for sale, even the display pieces.
“If it sells, that’s OK. That’s what it’s there for,” Allodi said. “We’re constantly changing and get new merchandise in daily.”
“What makes us unique is we carry such a variety of products,” said Allodi, who also visits gift and clothing shows to seek out new and unusual lines.”
Allodi opened her store in an 800-square-foot space on Stone Avenue just south of Burlington Avenue a decade ago. She limited the hours while her children were young , but after three years she took a leap of faith with a move.
“I’ve been at this location on Hillgrove with 4,000 square feet for seven years,” she said. “The location has made a huge difference being on the corner at Brainard. It just took off.”
And Allodi has had no trouble filling the space and using it to her advantage. A series of tasteful vignettes flows through the store, organized by the type of merchandise or by color with items to compliment nearby.
The former elementary teacher’s sense of design and appreciation for antiques is self-taught.
“I’m not sure where it came from. It’s funny, I hated art classes,” she said. “But I do have an eye for color and as far as what colors and pieces go well together.”
Allodi also features local artists, including Norma Fleming, who grew up in Hinsdale, and designs serving pieces with interchangeable ceramic mini decorations.
Among the store’s most popular items are Lily and Laura bracelets, which are hand-crocheted by women in Nepal in a fair trade arrangement founded by a couple in Sarasota, Fla., Allodi said.
The owner often partners with local nonprofit groups or private parties for after-hours gatherings and fund-raisers.
“This store is so supported by the community,” she said. “I do a lot of raffle prize donations, and if there’s a charity featured at an event, I give a percentage of the sale back.”