Light Rain
70°FLight RainFull Forecast

DeKalb’s Lavish Thrift reopens with new owner

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT
(Rob Winner –
Emillea Conklin at her store, Lavish Thrift, in downtown DeKalb, Ill., Friday, Jan. 17, 2014.

DeKALB – DeKalb resident Keely Smith walked into Lavish Thrift, 153 E. Lincoln Highway, DeKalb, on Friday to relax, and she ended up buying a 1930’s magazine.

Lavish Thrift re-opened New Year’s Eve under new ownership after being closed since Nov. 15.

Smith, a frequent customer, bought the magazine as a prop for a play she is involved with at Stage Coach Players.

“I like to stop in every once in a while to see what new stuff they got in,” she said.

That’s exactly what shopkeeper Emillea Conklin wants to hear. Her family owns the building, and they want to make the thrift shop a staple in downtown DeKalb.

“Our tagline is, ‘Where adorable meets affordable,’” Conklin said. “It’s not just thrifty stuff. It’s really cute stuff.”

The store, complete with a basement and second floor, sells items such as antique furniture, jewelry, clothing and general home decor.

Perhaps the most unusual attraction is a giant paper mache hand hanging from the ceiling, which points to where the basement is located.

A former employee made the hand for the store several years ago.

“He got tired of telling people where the basement was,” Conklin said.

Before re-opening, owners had to deep clean, repaint the walls and declutter the entire store to prepare for the grand re-opening, an event more than 100 people attended, Conklin said.

“We’re so happy with the downtown community and how well they’ve embraced us re-opening,” she said.

Even other downtown business owners stop by Lavish Thrift to see what items are for sale. Christie Carter, who works at the nearby Carter’s Cottage, a boutique shop, said she has been shopping at Lavish Thrift for 14 years.

“The more quality shops we get, the more it helps all of downtown DeKalb,” Carter said.

Carter said in the 14 years she has been coming to Lavish Thrift, she has always wanted to purchase a display-only built-in cabinet.

Owners would not let Carter buy the cabinet for 14 years, but last week, she got that chance.

“It’s now for display at my store,” Carter said.

Get breaking and town-specific news sent to your phone. Sign up for text alerts from the Daily Chronicle.

More News

Reader Poll

If a new bookstore opens in DeKalb, will you shop there?
Yes, regularly
Yes, occasionally
Maybe rarely
Probably not