By Mary Piwko and Jackie Krause
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. — What better way to celebrate 20 years in business than with a sale? And Oakton Street Antique Centre in Arlington Heights is really celebrating! With 20 percent off – for 20 days – and a gorilla on the roof to grab attention, there’s no better time to shop for antiques or vintage items.
To kick things off, on May 9 the store will be open from 10 a.m.-11 p.m. and will host a
customer appreciation party from 7-9 p.m. featuring 20 types of chocolate. The sale will continue through May 28 with two late nights (‘til 9 p.m.) on Friday, May 16 and Friday, May 23.
Forty-four dealers, 75 booths and 12,000 sq. ft. of space virtually guarantee that Oakton Street Antique Centre will have something for everyone, from fine jewelry to toys, Asian items to Century of Progress, vintage pottery to furniture and lighting. Some dealers even specialize in certain areas like coins, militaria, vintage clothing, sports, records, collectibles and glassware. Prices range from a few dollars for postcards to a few thousand dollars for a diamond ring or a nice piece of furniture. The jukebox plays non-stop vintage hits, which makes shopping a fun experience. Friendly dealers are available to help customers find what they want and open locked cases.
Twenty years ago Oakton Street Antique Centre was a fledgling business starting out in the space formerly occupied by Noah’s Ark, a popular pet store. Owner Bonnie Throne started out with an interest in antique dolls, and as time went by, she began to love and sell all types of antiques. When the store opened, Bonnie had just a few dealers and a limited variety of merchandise. Now the mall has grown and improved to become a well-known mecca for antiques and vintage collectibles, both locally and nationally. She now runs the mall with the help of her daughter and mall manager Jackie Krause.
Alan Hoffman, an ephemera dealer, says, “I have been a dealer at Oakton Street Antique Centre for 15 years. The dealers are fantastic and the customers are very loyal. I enjoy being there today as much as when I first became a dealer years ago.”
Another dealer, Gary Linden, who specialized in militaria, says, “I’ve met a lot of nice people and learned a wealth of information about a variety of antiques … both from dealers and customers alike. I’m amazed at the interesting items that have passed through the store in my 11 years here. It has really been a great experience.”
Other dealers mention the “family” atmosphere and note that Oakton Street Antique Centre is a favorite haunt of other antique dealers … which makes one think there may be a bargain or two to be found as well. Shoppers often comment on items they remember from their childhood, which is why Bonnie always says: “You can find your fond memories here.”
Oakton Street Antique Centre is located at 2430 E. Oakton, Arlington Heights, Ill. Or, if
you’re more familiar with the street system in Elk Grove and Arlington Heights, it’s on Oakton between Busse and Elmhurst Roads. It’s easily accessible from the city and only a few miles from O’Hare and the Rivers Casino.
There is ample parking in front of the store as well as along the side of the building. Regular business hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, call 847-437-2514 or visit www.oakton-antiques.com.
About the contributors: Mary Piwko, a former advertising copywriter, has been a dealer at Oakton Street Antique Centre and a part-time cashier for the past 13 years. A 6-year veteran of Oakton Street and a specialist in vintage clothing, Jackie Krause is also the mall manager.