Raffia’s return to Prospect: Plenty of excitement has been generated by this family-run gift shop’s return to its roots on Prospect Ave.
By Trent Modglin
Location: 13 S. Prospect, near the Pickwick Theater in the former Yvonne Estelle’s location.
Open seven days a week now
Monday: 12-5 p.m.
Tuesday-Friday: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Sunday: 12-4 p.m.
A return to Prospect
Raffia Gifts called Prospect Avenue home from 1990-2011 under Debbie Sigalos, who moved the store a few blocks west down Northwest Highway in 2011. Emily Larson, who worked for Debbie for two years, purchased the business in 2014. Raffia specializes in home decor, wall art, jewelry, handbags, accessories, picture frames, candles, lotions, a growing children’s section and more.
The new (and larger) location is incredibly bright and inviting, and window shopping from the Prospect sidewalk is easy here with four large bay windows showcasing much of what’s available inside. The store, with its two rooms and sizable shelving, is well laid out too, providing a variety of different displays without feeling overcrowded or cluttered at all. A big shelf wall filled with frames, coasters and home decor is an eye catcher, and soft ’50s and ’60s music perfectly accompanies your shopping experience.
Just being here next to the Pickwick, you feel like you’re part of the community again. … And every single comment has been a positive one. It feels good, the excitement we’re seeing and feeling from people.”
— Emily Larson
“Just being here next to the Pickwick, you feel like you’re part of the community again,” says Emily Larson, reminding us how many retailers had closed or moved out of their old section of NW Highway in recent years. “The amount of foot traffic is such a big deal for us. The people we’ve seen walking by and looking in since we opened, or during the sidewalk sale in early August before we even opened, has been incredible. … And every single comment has been a positive one. It feels good, the excitement we’re seeing and feeling from people.”
Emily’s mom, Sandy, concurs. “Even though we’re only a few blocks away from our old location, I love hearing the train,” she adds with a smile. “It makes me feel like we’re finally in town.”
A shopping district for all tastes
Raffia’s move at the end of August helps boost Prospect Avenue — which was already home to 2 Sisters Boutique, Around the World Cigars, Fannie May, Edie, Marigold, Camp Willow, Hill’s Hallmark and Sooo Cute Boutique — up another notch as one of the more coveted shopping destinations in the northwest suburbs.
“We’re glad you’re back here,” gushed a group of women who walked in with coffee in hand, sharing memories of the old Prospect location. “We really are. It’s so bright and beautiful in here.”
New merchandise for fall
A table full of fun, quirky Halloween decor greets you as you walk in — think witches, hats, candles, punch bowls, ceramic pumpkins and tabletop haunted houses that light up. Seasonal Thymes candles are all the rage, too, with intoxicating scents like simmered cider, pumpkin laurel, birchwood molasses and spiced pomander (with hints of cinnamon, bitter orange and clove).
Raffia also has a versatile new jewelry line arriving this fall that they are extremely excited about, as well as an expanding children’s section full of cute clothes, stuffed animals, toys and books.
Down the road
Raffia will be open seven days a week, with expanded hours until 6 p.m. now Tuesday-Friday. Raffia also has a versatile new jewelry line arriving this fall that they are extremely excited about, as well as an expanding children’s section full of cute clothes, stuffed animals, toys and books.
“If you think it looks cute now,” Emily says to a customer, “just wait till Christmas.”