This holiday season, give the gift of vintage - courtesy of Starved Rock Country’s own True North! Conveniently located on U.S. 6 in Morris, just a short drive away from Interstate 80 and Route 47, True North is a much lauded destination for impeccably curated vintage, antique and oddity items.
This superstore, which first opened its doors to the public in 2014, has expanded numerous times over the years - after a recent expansion the store now boasts more 100 vendors across 10,000 square feet of sprawling retail space. With a growing cavalcade of fans, countless “best-of” awards and write-ups from some of the most prestigious vintage and antiquing magazines out there, True North has established its self as more than just a premium vintage store - it’s a tourist attraction for shoppers offering an expansive selection of gifts you won’t find anywhere else.
“The whole idea at True North is that the entire family can come here, relax, see something cool ... just have a unique experience and still feel no pressure to buy anything. There’s really something for everybody to do, for all ages,” said Stacey Olson, the owner and visionary behind True North.
The layout of True North is a fusion of the classic antique mall formula mixed with the curatorial eye of modern pop-up shopping experiences. Each vendor space is uniquely themed and designed, with the merchandise often informing the ascetics. These shops-within-a-shop reward repeat trips, as their stock is constantly changing and being updated. In the newest wing of the store, you’ll find Instagram-worthy windowed vendor rooms, fully decorated and themed for the holidays - packed with plenty of seasonal decor and gift items.
Need another reason to put True North on your shopping calendar? On December 16th through the 18th, True North will also be offering complimentary gift wrapping for all items in store! The staff at True North will wrap anything (within reason) that you purchase during this limited time event .If it fits in a gift bag, they’ll spruce it up with red tissue paper, a bow, and a gift tag. If it doesn’t fit in a gift bag, the folks at True North will wrap it up for you at no extra charge. Looking to bundle some items? You can also put together a gift basket and they will wrap that as well.
“We can’t wait to see what our vendors do with these spaces come Christmas-time,” said Olson. “Our Midwest Makers used to be located in the front of the store, that space is now dedicated to 70-plus vintage vendors. All together, we now have more than 100 vendors throughout True North.”
True North specializes in what are called smalls, a term you may have picked up if you’re fan of History Channel’s American Pickers. This sub-category of vintage pieces favor the eclectic and compact over the large and sober pieces many think of when they first hear to word “antiques.” These inexpensive, highly-collectable, conversation pieces are rapidly becoming the hottest things in the world of vintage, and they just so happen to be True North’s forte.
“We don’t have huge 12 x 12 booths filled with tables, we have small booths filled with tons of exciting smalls. Our customers love that, on any given day we’re selling hundreds of items,” said Olson. “It comes as a surprise to a lot of people, but the average cost of an item at True North is just $5.”
If you’re a fan of vintage clothing, you should start planning your trip ASAP. True North has always been known for their old school apparel, but they now feature a staggering 1,000-plus square feet of recycled clothing. The selection of clothes has also grown to include vintage children’s clothing, so the style and philosophy of upcycling can now extend to your children’s wardrobe.
If you’ve been to True North before, the store will feel at once familiar and brand new. So whether you’re a card carrying member of their fan club, or just a novice vintage shopper scouting for your next weekend destination, look no further than one of the most exciting stores in Starved Rock Country: True North.
True North at 539 Bedford Road in Morris is open seven days a week, 362 days a year. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. For information, call 815-705-0161 or visit shoptruenorth.com.