Learning to blog has been a process. One of the tutorials suggests that bloggers include repeating features to interest readers in the next installment. I started thinking about what would interest my readers. I know from past Pickwick Papers, our tearoom newsletter, that folks liked my “Something You Should Know” column, and my features introducing other shops. So, I decided to continue that idea with a review of places I visit or am familiar with to help you become more familiar with them also. I thought I’d start by sharing some places I am quite familiar with; the shops in historic Frankfort, Illinois, a small town in the southwest suburbs of Chicago. Check back each week for Fridays in Frankfort.
One of my favorite shops has been in business for over 30 years. Hard to believe but it is the oldest retail shop in the historic district; All Small Miniatures started out in the Grainery Mall in the 1980’s. The mall was an old grainery barn where farmers would bring their grain to sell pulling their horse-drawn wagons and then trucks through the barn to unload. In the early 1970’s this huge barn was transformed into a multi-store shopping facility. Malls were just becoming popular and this was a fairly new concept for a small town like Frankfort but, the idea of converting an antique building into a modern mall was appealing and became a tourist draw. Included in the Grainery Shops Mall were gift shops and boutiques, and ice cream parlor and antique shops. At one time Frankfort had 21 antique shops located throughout their downtown area which led to the town becoming a destination for shoppers looking to spend a day strolling through a quaint historic area. Sadly, the Grainery Mall burned to the ground on October 22, 1984, and All Small along with many other businesses were forced to make a decision, completely start over or call it quits. All Small moved into the Blacksmith Shops where they stayed for while till that building was purchased and they were forced to move again to their current location at 26 Ash Street.
Owned by Hildegard and Nick Popoff, All Small Miniatures continues to sell individual miniature pieces as well as entire doll houses. Their knowledge of how to renovate and build dollhouses is so vast that Hildegard was asked to consult when they decided to renovate the famous Colleen Moore Fairy Castle Dollhouse at the Chicago Science and Industry Museum. Hildegard grew up in the Black Forest area of Germany at a time when children learned to occupy themselves by making things of little bits and pieces, using shoe boxes to make a dollhouse with tiny furnishings. She credits her mother with giving her the passion to love and appreciate miniatures.
Within the walls of their shop the most amazing miniature items can be found; everything from the tiniest pieces of fruit to entire mansions. Anything you can imagine for your modern, retro or historic home for inside or outside can be found at All Small Miniatures as well as all different styles of homes, even an outhouse. They often have antique and vintage miniature pieces available for sale.
Be assured you are in good company; you may even catch Santa shopping at All Small Miniatures.
You can start with an existing dollhouse, a kit or a plan for building your own design. A room I like to think of as their tiny home improvement shop holds all manner of pieces for building, repairing or embellishing a dollhouse or miniature room. They carry a line of paints for inside walls as well as exterior paints. You can find everything from top to bottom; shingles for roofs as well as brick for foundations. Wallpaper and “ceramic” tile sheets as well as flooring, doors, windows, hardware and more are jam packed into this tiny home improvement room.
Miniature Repair Specialist, Sharon Mackey offers help in renovations as well as full scale repairs by appointment. Nick Popoff, a retired engineer lends his expertise wiring dollhouses for clients by appointment.
The longest running business in Historic Frankfort, All Small Miniatures serves the entire Southwestern Chicago area with the best in fine miniature, doll houses and accessories for miniature applications. Visit their Facebook page for shop hours and directions or call the shop at (815) 469-4111. Please stop in soon to see this quaint shop and start a new hobby or just be amazed at the variety of miniatures and the beauty of these diminutive houses, finished rooms and furnishings.