You’ve shopped and shopped. But you haven’t dropped yet. No way — not as long as there are new stores springing up around town. Keep happily browsing at these three boutiques that sell goodies for kids and adults alike. Chocolates? Yep. Charitable footwear? Yes, siree. Custom avatars made into real-life dolls? Yes (funny you should ask), there are those, too.
photo: Amy’s Candy Bar
Amy’s Candy Bar
Already a hit in Lincoln Square, French Pastry School grad Amy Hansen’s boutique is popping up in Hyde Park for six months. Needless to say, shopping there is a real treat. We dare you to ignore the care cake stands stacked with candy, chocolates and toffee; and apothecary jars filled with gummies, licorice and milk balls. The pop-up will have a few sweet new additions, including meringues, Orangettes (dark-chocolate dipped orange peels), almond toffee covered in dark chocolate and sea salt and caramels dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled with gourmet salts. Of course, old favorites will be on hand — namely the OMG Bar, a hazelnut praline sandwiched between salted caramel and milk chocolate ganache. If you’re shopping with the kids, beware of eyes-are-bigger-than-their-tummies syndrome; it’s easy to get carried away here!
1546 E. 55th St. (in Hyde Park Shopping Center)
Shoe shopping doesn’t have to be a drag. Kick up those heels and head to TOMS in Wicker Park for purchases you can feel good about. For every pair of their shoes sold, TOMS gives a new pair of new shoes to a child in need. They’re best known for comfy slip-ons that fit just so, thanks to inner elastic banding. You’ll also find kids’ rain boots and winter suede boots. The selection spans kids, women and men, and also includes eyewear. Should you need to refuel on caffeine while shopping, nestled in the back is a full-service coffee bar, brewing TOMS Roasting Co. lattes, cappuccinos, teas, and seasonal coffee creations. Your little browsing companions will eye up the fresh pastries and pressed juices.
1611 N. Damen Ave.
The real world and digital world meet at this new storefront in Oak Brook. Yep, welcome to the future. At AvaStars, kids select a character they dream of becoming (firefighter, princess, rock star, etc.), complete with customizable features (hair, eyes and skin tone). Then, each child steps into the “AvaStar Ship” portal for a 3D photo session to capture their likeness. Next, each child is treated to a “big screen premiere” of themselves starring in a 3D animated video —and the video is also available to download and share with family and friends. Within a few weeks, the personalized AvaStars doll or action figure will arrive at your house. While the end product is cool, it’s the imaginative shopping experience that your kids will remember.
100 Oakbrook Center
Where are you doing last-minute gift shopping? Let us know in the Comments!
— Kelly Aiglon