I am part of an incredible group of people doing incredible things at True North the Warehouse at 539 Bedford Road in Morris Illinois, an antique store like no other. Started as the brainchild of Stacey and Erik Olson, True North has grown over the past four years to become one of the best antique and vintage shops in the Midwest and the number one antique shop in Grundy County for the last four years.
The original shop was the cutest little antiques shop in town located on the corner of Liberty and Jackson Streets. We began with just a few vendors in the heart of downtown Morris but within the first year, it was abundantly apparent that this shop was destined for greater things. Their positive energy coupled with lots of hard work proved to be the magic recipe for success. You know how you feel; sometimes it may be hard to describe but you just know when entering a space that it is going to be a good time for everyone.
It didn’t take long to outgrow our original space. Vendors with bigger items were clamoring to be included in this new high energy concept. When the space became available, Stacey and Erik started talking about this “Warehouse” and how fabulous it would be. We were all on board for expanding with larger spaces and more options for growth; many of us chose to keep booths in both downtown and the warehouse. The vendors bring in all manner of things, everything from tiny little charms to large pieces of furniture. Glassware, kitchen collectibles, tools, ephemera, linens, jewelry, lamps and toys. Everything used and usable from long ago can be found at True North.
True North is truly a family friendly place. When entering with children, the staff will ask if they’d like to try the scavenger hunt and are given a clipboard with a grid of things to find in the booths. It keeps the children looking at everything! When they finish, they are rewarded by getting a chance to choose something from the big ice chest of prizes. True North also has an indoor swing. Simple rules: NO underdogs & Take Turns.
True North is always involved in some activity or event. Any of the downtown merchant’s events are whole heartily embraced by True North whether a sidewalk sale or midnight in Morris shopping events. They also plan and promote their own events. It wasn’t long after opening that Scout Flea Market was born and brought into the family of True North events.
Scout is held several times during the year at the Kendall County Fairgrounds in Yorkville. Many of the True North vendors have a booth along with vendors from all over the Midwest. Scout Flea Market is not billed as a pretty show. It is a flea market where the pretty shows come to ‘pick’ for antiques, vintage and cool junk. This year they added an auction area to the Scout Flea Market and so far people appreciate the opportunity to try an auction out in a nontraditional setting. Part of the diversion of going to a flea market is the entertainment. And there is entertainment! Beside the bantering with the vendors, expect to see strolling musicians, kids activities, food and beer. They guarantee, you will have fun at this family fun event. Check the True North Facebook page for dates and times of Scout Flea Market.
My favorite True North event is our True North Pole outdoor market at the 3 French Hen’s Holiday Market held at the Grundy County fairgrounds the second weekend in November. The vendors from True North set up tents in a group between the buildings out at the fairgrounds. They load the tents with all manner of vintage holiday and general merchandise. Its one of the best events we participate in to bring the vendors together and make us more of a family. As with all True North events, we have fun!
As an extension of all the great ideas popping up from re-purposed and re-imagined vintage items, Stacey put together a fantastic group of Midwest Makers; a group of craftspeople all from the Midwest that have finely honed their crafts to appeal to a wide audience and inspire reuse of vintage items. The group includes a tea vendor, lighting made from re-purposed items, T-shirts with a Midwest vibe, jewelry makers, sign painters and more. These vendors are grouped together along one wall in the Warehouse to find them easier.
With over 80 vendors there is always something new and unusual being brought into the shop. Things change daily; hourly sometimes. Vendors know how important it is to revamp their booths and they do it often bringing in new merchandise everyday and rearranging often.
Go on Facebook and follow True North Warehouse to get the latest on all the events as well as new ideas for decorating. Most vendors have their own Facebook pages that link to True North’s and you can get new ideas for re-purposing your own décor.
True North truly has something for everyone with mostly antique and vintage items, mix in a few Midwest Makers, a few entertaining events, and some re-purposed items and you’ve got a recipe for success.
Shopping should be an adventure. Start an adventure at True North.
A navigator needs to know true north, not magnetic north. In life we often have no idea where we need to be or what our path should be; finding or knowing our True North would allow us to follow the correct path. Shopping at True North is right where we all need to be.