Small Business Spotlight: Swantiques Pop-Up in Evanston

  |     |   Small Business Spotlight

Antique and modern collide in what will be an exciting new addition to The Main at Evanston.

Pop in to Swantiques Pop-Up shop, a curated and cool collection of one-of-a-kind antique, vintage, and mid-century modern pieces.

Free parking will be available in the Retail Parking Garage, located in the alley just east of 518 Main Street. Swantiques 4

Just like at its showroom in Skokie, new items will arrive weekly throughout the duration of the Pop-Up, which will be open May 4 through June 1.

Hours will be 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.

The Main recently had the opportunity to chat with Swantiques owner Lora Swanson to talk antiques, life and all about the upcoming pop up.

The Main: How would you summarize your “story?”

Lora Swanson: I’ve been an antique dealer for 10 years, but it’s been a long road. This is my second career, or perhaps my third, if you count raising a family. It’s something for which I’ve always had a passion, and I think I always knew I would end up here. Once my youngest child was in middle school, I decided to take the plunge and I rented a booth in an antique mall. That eventually led to opening a shop with another dealer, then to having my own shop, and then opening a second shop, and now I just do pop-up shops in various locations.

TM: What has been the biggest challenge of your career and how did you overcome it?

LS: The biggest challenge has been reinventing my business–transitioning from a retail store to pop-up shops. It’s hard to make it in retail today with a brick-and-mortar store. The overhead is high, and then there’s the online competition.

I thought the pop-up model could be a great idea. Like a show, it draws its audience by creating demand. It’s not going to be there forever, so it’s fun and exciting.

I had to find vacant retail space with great foot traffic, in a densely populated neighborhood. I then had to figure out the logistics of making the space work, get it set up in a short amount of time, and find people to work with me.

Now that I’ve done it successfully, it’s so much easier each successive time.

TM: What do you most enjoy about your career?

LS: I love the “hunt,” discovering treasures in unexpected places, exploring the history of the pieces I find, and giving them a new life.

TM: Who inspires who and why?Swantiques 5

LS: I am inspired by the people I meet along the way. I love meeting people and hearing their stories. Sometimes it’s the person from whom I’m purchasing an estate, and I hear a fascinating tale about their parents and grandparents. Sometime it’s the person who purchases an item from me, and I hear about what they collect and why that’s special to them.

TM: What is the most important lesson you’ve learned about running a business?

LS: No matter how passionate you are about your business, and how much energy you have, you can’t do it alone. It’s important to build a network of resources and create relationships with people you trust.

TM: Can you describe a moment or moments when you stopped and realized this is why you are doing what you’re doing with your life?

LS: Setting up for a pop-up is a lot of work in a short amount of time. I work on it pretty much all day, every day for a month. At the end of one very long and tiring day, I finally sat down, totally exhausted. But then I looked around at what we had accomplished that day and it was just spectacular!  My thoughts were, “I love this, I was made for this, I’m living the dream.”

TM: What advice would you offer to other small business owners?

LS: Always be open to new ways of doing business, and don’t ever underestimate social networking.

Join us at The Main for opening night festivities from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, May 4 at The Main, a truly unique luxury apartment community.

For more information, or to schedule a tour of The Main apartments, call (847) 450-0115 or visit us online.

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