This weekend I talked with my dear friend Hildegard Popoff, owner of All Small the place for miniatures and dollhouses in historic Frankfort. She told me she decided to retire in the next few months.
Last July Hildegard celebrated her ninetieth birthday without a blink or any thought of slowing down. Her energy is truly amazing! But then, her work delights her and she truly loves miniatures. As a small child in Germany’s Black Forest, Hildegard learned to love designing, making, and playing with miniatures. She credits her mother with her lifelong love of miniatures. Hildegard fondly remembers as a young girl they did not have many toys but, her mother taught her to make dolls, doll furniture, and doll houses with little bits and pieces of wood, beads, fabric and other small pieces. Allowing her to expand her creative nature, Hildegard’s mother unknowingly gave her the basis for a lifetime love of miniatures.
Over forty two years ago, Hildegard bought and took over running All Small Miniatures while it was still located in the old Grainery Mall which burned to the ground in the late 1980’s. After the Grainery burned, All Small Miniatures could have just closed like some of the other businesses in the same predicament but; Hildegard loved her business, she loved Frankfort and she loved miniatures. So, she picked herself up by the bootstraps so to speak and found a new location for All Small. Collecting miniatures was a fairly brisk business in the late 80’s and with their new location in the Blacksmith Shops located at Smith and Elwood Streets, All Small Miniatures enjoyed continued success. Then in the early 2000’s, once again All Small was forced to move when the Blacksmith Shops building where they rented sold. Now located at 26 Ash Street, All Small is one of the longest existing dollhouse shops in Illinois.
All Small Miniatures is one of only two dollhouse shops that offer restoration services in the Chicago area. Sharon takes houses in by appointment for restoration and the results are astounding. Nick, Hildegard’s husband rewires the renovations and also installs wiring in new houses.
Today there are fewer dollhouse shops than in the 1980’s still selling miniatures in the Chicago area. So the fact that historic Frankfort and the entire south suburban area will lose their only business dedicated to dollhouses and miniatures leads me to beg the public; please do not let this happen.
If you’ve always loved miniatures, always played with dollhouses or made miniature vignettes, this could be a business for you. Think about it, there is virtually no competition in the area.
Hildegard’s customers come from all over the Chicago area to purchase dollhouses, accessorize their existing dollhouses and find unique and amazingly detailed miniatures to add to their collections. Here is your chance to own a business that could feed your passion, support your hobby and bring so much happiness to so many people. Consider it….2018 could be your year.
If you are interested in purchasing the entire business or just a few pieces to expand your collection, please stop into All Small Miniatures soon. Hildegard or Sharon will happily help you find that perfect piece, give you pointers on installation or restoration, recommend sources for specialty items and share their love of all things miniature.
Ultimately Hildegard would love to see her little shop continue bringing delight to miniature collectors and others in historic Frankfort but regardless, she plans to retire in the next couple months.
You can reach Hildegard at (815) 469-4111 or drop in the shop at 26 South Ash Street, Frankfort. The shop hours are noon to five Wednesday thru Saturday and noon to four on Sunday. The shop is closed on Monday and Tuesday. Check out her Facebook page to see some of the fantastic miniatures she has to offer and houses they’ve been privileged to work on.