Hinsdale openings bring fresh offerings

From design to empowerment, new village businesses provide one-of-a-kind experiences

Hinsdale continues to welcome new businesses to town, providing even more destinations for village shoppers. The latest arrivals to the town's merchant community - along with signs of growth from longstanding proprietors - are highlighted here.

A market for renovation

A growing family vacating a stylish modern Chicago condo for a forever Hinsdale home built in the 1970s is likely to seek remodeling help. John Bohnen of County Line Properties envisioned an answer in County Line Design Center.

The center, which opened last June adjacent to County Line Properties at 110 S. Washington St., exhibits the work of 17 different vendors in everything from landscaping design and plumbing to painting and framing. Bohnen said they're all professionals on his referral list for homeowners.

"We thought rather than handing out this advice all the time, we'll showcase some of the people that we use," he said.

"We have a whole range of products and services, a one-stop shop for remodels or homebuilders," said center manager Rebecca Austin.

The main office is furnished with different types of flooring and other design elements to help visitors imagine the possibilities.

Architect and Hinsdale resident Frank Gonzales, whose firm US-BES specializes in historical restoration, signed on to the co-op concept.

"Folks move from the city and they don't know where to reach out. Here you have hands-on help," he said. "Everybody has a niche."

A brick-paved hallway leads back to an open-air courtyard, beyond which is more design center space. There Darin Johnson of Amish Touch Custom Cabinetry works with his clients.

"I signed up as soon as I shook John's hand," Johnson remarked, saying the synergistic dynamic among the participants is a bonus.

"You're inspired by everyone's creativity."

Bohnen said that cross-pollination also an objective.

"We wanted to get some uniqueness to the artisans that are in there," he said.

Austin said the center aims to exhibit the best in home design in the western suburbs. Feedback during the last Christmas Walk was encouraging.

"Everyone was just really surprised to have something like this in town - that they didn't have to go downtown to find similar things," Austin said.

Rugs and more at Turkoise

For a transcontinental feast for the senses, Turkoise offers goods reflecting Turkish design and culture.

Owner Muhammet Yaldiz and business partner Andrea LaRusso are poised to open the doors at 10 E. First St., where visitors will get an eyeful of handmade tribal Kilim rugs and experience the aroma of olive oil-based soaps - and perhaps taste a Turkish coffee.

"The store is very eclectic, and we're trying to bring a fresh touch of whimsy," LaRusso said. "We wanted to add something unique and different to Hinsdale."

Yaldiz has worked in his family's rug business for years, visiting virtually every U.S. state before landing in Chicago. He teamed up with interior designer LaRusso to give homeowners a nontraditional approach to decorating.

"We said, 'Let's get together and do remodeling and interior design, and I'll (show) my rugs,' " Yaldiz said.

The vibrant flat-woven rugs are suspended for full viewing. And customers can have a rug brought over to see how it fits before making the purchase.

"It's nice for them to be able to visualize the rug in their house with no pressure," he said.

Those looking for different kinds of accents may be enticed by the pillows made from deconstructed rugs or the cube seats, also made with the Kilim material, for handy, casual seating. And kids will surely be drawn to the bean bag-like poofs.

"Even if you're a 10-year0-old or an 80-year-old, there's going to be something in here you might like," LaRusso said.

"These are all handmade by different village areas," Yaldiz noted of the different patterns.

LaRusso points to the "carpet" shoulder bags.

"We have laptop bags for men. The patters are masculine and feminine, so you can go either way," she said.

The soap scents run the gamut from lavender to donkey milk, and colorful ceramic bowls make a striking statement whether used for keys or dips.

LaRusso, who grew up in Hinsdale, said hospitality is an important part of their business.

"We want to build relationships in the town," she said.

Work + Shop focuses on women

Kimberly Arquilla believes local women tend to leave the community when their life's landscape shifts.

"I really wanted a place for women to gather, (women) that were going through transitions," Arquilla said of the mission behind Work + Shop at 14 W. First St., which opens today.

It was Arquilla's own search for resources when going through a divorce that inspired her to establish such a network for other women in changing circumstances, whether due to upheaval in one's career, marriage or another sphere of life.

"I wanted to create a place where women could find that support and gather and get information," she said.

From helping an aspiring entrepreneur start a business to learning methods of self-care to boosting one's financial literacy, Arquilla is leveraging her connections to equip ladies for their next chapters.

"We'll have a monthly book club where authors come in and speak," she said. "We have a podcast room if you want to start a podcast.

"Everything that we do is to encourage you to find passions in your life."

She also stocks products, like vegan bags for which every purchase results in a bag for an under-resourced child in India, and stuffed animals made by women in Chile.

"All of the products that we carry are from women entrepreneur businesses, whether it's woman-made or supports a women's foundation," she said. "Everything that we do is a collaboration of women."

Arquilla cited women who came alongside her during difficult seasons and how powerful that was for her. A Hinsdale resident and former financial professional, she enjoys using her expertise to enable local women to keep their balance sheets in good order.

"It's just whatever it takes to keep women in our community, because women leave," she said, noting the shop will also host a series on finance and investing for college women.

It's all about extending the hand of kindness, Arquilla said.

"We all just collaborate and help each other."

Bakery expands store, offerings

Sweet Ali's Gluten Free Bakery has doubled its space with its expansion next door.

"We were in tight quarters going up to the expansion," owner Ali Graeme said. "For us to be able to grow our business at all, we had to make a decision."

When the storefront next door at 13 W. First St. (formerly Frank's on First Street) became available, Graeme decided the time was right.

"Basically all of our baking is in the new space and our decorating and packaging is in the old space," she said.

The additional square footage will allow Graeme to expand the bakery's product line. Last weekend she introduced a gluten-free chicken pot pie, created in cooperation with Da Luciano in River Grove.

"They're making the inside filling for us and we're putting it together," she said. "We're going to have hot cross buns for Easter and we're working on a few other vegan items, also. Between now and the end of the year, hopefully we have a bunch of new things as the holidays come up."

Ma Belle makes the move

Ma Belle Avenue owner Marina Didjurgis said the boutique's move from the back to the front of 50 S. Washington St. just before Christmas has certainly helped visibility.

"It's just perfect," she said. "Because we were in the back, nobody knew about us."

She expects more to discover the shop, which specializes in European styles, as traffic increases with warmer spring weather.

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean