A little vintage A lot of heart

By on March 2, 2014
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Photo: Kristy Simon, owner of Soaring Heart Vintage, behind the sales counter. Photo by Patti Wilk

New Elburn local opens store on Main Street
ELBURN—Kristy Simon has always been a collector of vintage and antique things. She said her grandmother, an artist, encouraged in her an appreciation for an older time and sensibility.

“It sparked an interest in me,” she said.

Simon recently opened Soaring Heart Vintage at 119 1/2 N. Main St. in Elburn.

She met her husband, who grew up in Sycamore, when they were both living in Chicago. Although Kristy appreciates the culture, the fashion and the energy the city has to offer, she and her husband wanted to live in a small town where life was affordable and crime was low.

The Simons five years ago moved out to Elburn, where they have two dogs and a cat, a backyard, and where they take time to breathe and enjoy a slower pace.

Several summers ago, Kristy began holding mini-barn sales once a month, and developed somewhat of a following for her items. When the opportunity presented itself for her to move into the storefront on Main Street, she jumped at the chance.

“I love Elburn,” she said. “I want to be part of the local community, and more than just as a resident.”

Kristy said her inventory is mainly mid-century, with items such as costume jewelry, home decor and furnishings, creatively arranged throughout the store. She said she enjoys staging and styling the items almost as much as the thrill of the hunt for unique merchandise.

“You never know what you’re going to find in some dusty corner in an old, gross basement,” she said.

Not surprisingly, one of Kristy’s favorite shows on television is American Pickers, a program about two antique hunters who find treasures in old barns, backyards and basements.

“I would love to meet them,” she said.

Kristy said that you learn over time what you are looking at.

“I love to know the history of something, so when I see something I’m not familiar with, I research it,” she said. “I am pretty particular about what I buy. People can tell when you absolutely love what you’re selling.”

Her criteria for buying an item is that she would personally buy it for someone or that she would have it in her own home.

Kristy likes to offer a mix of things, to give people a variety of things to look at. She said she tries to keep her prices reasonable, because she never wants someone to say they would like something but they can’t afford it.

She offers items from local vendors mixed in with her merchandise, such as hand-made fabric purses, homemade soaps and skin care products, and embellished vintage jewelry. She plans to offer a selection of old vinyl records soon, and was meeting recently with a collector to discuss his vinyl collection.

“Vinyl has made a total comeback,” Kristy said. “I love old music, and I like to listen to it on vinyl. I love the crackle; it just sounds different.”

She decorates for the holidays, and during the month of February, old-fashioned valentines with parts that moved were strewn in and around the more stable items. A collection of small quilted hearts attached with clothes pins to a long swatch of crinoline fabric captured the imagination.

“The space itself is so old,” Kristy said. “With the high ceilings and everything, my stuff just fits in the space.”