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Published 4 years ago
Last updated 4 years ago
Editor's note: In honor of Labor Day, the H-F Chronicle talked with four local people of whose passion for their work enriches the community and make it a great place to live. This story is the second of four published in the Sept. 1 print edition of the Chronicle.
Valerie Warnsby, owner of The Villager Card & Gift Shop in downtown Flossmoor, is one of those fortunate people who can say they are living their dream.
Ever since she was a young girl, Warnsby knew she wanted to own a retail business.
Growing up in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood, she would join her mother who often visited friends in Flossmoor. She made friends in Flossmoor and said she always enjoyed the community.
Later, she graduated from Drake University, where she majored in business management and public administration.
In 2015, a friend of hers introduced her to Nancy Schieber, who owned The Villager for 21 years. Schieber was planning to sell the shop because she was relocating. It was a perfect match and Warnsby wasted no time in purchasing the store. She will celebrate her third year as the proud owner in January.
Warnsby has many years experience in retail and management. At age 22, she was an assistant manager for Jewel/Osco where she learned how to run a business and went through an extensive management program.
She also had a hobby of creating specialty cards for special occasions and eventually turned it into a business for more than five years, with her products selling in various stores.
As the happy proprietor of The Villager she said her greatest enjoyment is the human factor and the wonderful stories her customers share with her.
“I want it to be a place you can come to, relax, shop and meet your neighbors. I want to add to people’s experience of being in Flossmoor or perhaps returning to Flossmoor to visit family. I want there to be a sense of community in the store, where people can begin to connect with neighbors and friends,” she said.
She added that as a business owner and member of the Flossmoor Business Association, she is committed to supporting the community, the village, the schools and local organizations when they hold special events. She is looking forward to Flossmoor Fest on Sept. 9, where she will have a booth.
Warnsby stated the greatest challenge faced by business owners on Sterling Avenue is attracting foot traffic.
“We are searching for ways to bring people downtown as the community expands,” she said. "All of us here are working toward this goal.”
The Villager, located at 1042 Sterling Ave., is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
“If someone is looking for a very special gift for someone special in their life, I can help them find it,” she said.