Pop-up gift shop is Flossmoor’s artisan treasure this holiday season

  Owner of Fabulous Finds, Liz Keating of Flossmoor, 
  looks at a chair brought in by Tai Klipful and her son,
  George, of Homewood. Fabulous Finds is a mixture of
  resale and new unique items for sale. Keating also takes
  in items on consignment.
(Photos by Mary Compton/
  H-F Chronicle)
Flossmoor shop owner Liz Keating opened Fabulous Finds Pop-up and Holiday Gift Shop in downtown Flossmoor at the end of November. She was inspired by a vacant store front between The Bistro on Sterling and Dunning’s Market, and decided to fill the void.

“I’m a mom from Flossmoor who has been here for 25 years. ‘Inspirational Shopping’ is what I call it – to put money right in the pockets of Flossmoor families, and to showcase how innovative our residents are. Like for example, the fallen birch my brother Jim uses to make candle holders.”

Keating’s holiday wish for a close-knit Flossmoor is coming true this gift-giving season, as Fabulous Finds showcases unique art from local artists.

“My vision is a Flossmoor retail store that our community, and hopefully everyone else, can come to and shop ... The inventory changes all the time, because we are all about local art from local artisans. And that’s the culture: anti-Amazon,’’ said Keating.

In stark contrast to big box store models, Keating is adding the lost art of personal touch to every customer interaction. Her shop even attracts hungry residents looking for a bite to eat. She recently sent a couple of customers next door to The Bistro.

“When I closed the shop, I walked over. They had ordered like six appetizers,” Keating says.  “She came into my shop, and I sent her there, the same way people talk my shop up in Dunning’s next door.”

Featured visual artist and Western Avenue School crossing guard Rose Lyons shares Keating’s sentiments for unique, locally-produced goods. Her nostalgia for the days before mass-manufacturing are largely tied to a lacking sense of individuality in today’s consumerism.

“Everything is a general product today,” Lyons said. “You can’t order things the way you want it, you just get what they got, already wrapped up in the plastic. It’s all about what’s convenient.”

Shoppers can find Lyon’s painting, “Moon Number Six” in the pop-up shop. "The Highwayman," a poem by Alfred Noyes, inspired the piece, Lyons said.

“The poem starts out: ‘The wind was a torrent of darkness, rustling through the trees. The moon was a ghostly galleon, tossed upon cloudy seas.’  So, I’m on moon number six. I haven’t gotten my ‘ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas’ just yet,” she laughs.  “I’ve gotten up to 10 versions at home.”

For the most part, Lyons says sketching is how she captures her muses. She harbors a sense of nostalgia for the machines of the good old days, like manual wall mounted pencil sharpeners.

“I got this from my dad. I took it to the hardware store, and they had to drill new holes since they don’t even carry the bolts that came in it originally,” she says. “The (pencil) tips get real sharp with this old thing.”

Lyons says her preferred muses are immobile subjects to which she doesn’t have to pay to pose. Most of her sketches feature houses.

Fabulous Finds also features merchandise from seventh grade entrepreneur-extraordinaire Sloane McGreal. For her, the charm in a locally-owned marketplace comes from greater visibility for her handmade soaps and bath salts.

“The pop-up shop is fun because everything there is homemade. When people go there, they walk around the whole store, and look at everything. There’s a better chance of people seeing what I sell there than if my stuff was in bigger stores like Target,” Sloane said.

Sloane, who finds inspiration for her crafts on YouTube, is a natural-born salesperson, according to  her mom, Julie McGreal. 

Naturally, when she learned Julie would be selling her homemade caramel candies at the pop-up, Sloane wanted in.

“Sloane has probably, since birth, been an entrepreneur. She’s always made stuff to sell, mainly to family,” Julie said. “When I told her I was going to have my caramels in Liz’s store, she asked if she could sell stuff, too.”

Fabulous Finds will be in downtown Flossmoor through Jan. 15 with featured artists across all ages, mediums and inspirations. Diversity makes the pop-up as special as the community it serves, Keating said.

“It’s really the treasure of our town, in all of its uniqueness.”

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A great community deserves a great newspaper. The HF Chronicle was created in June 2014 as an online publication. In December 2015 we began monthly print publication, too. Our mission is to chronicle the life of our community — news by, for, and about the people of Homewood and Flossmoor, Illinois.


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