Evanston pop-up shop Swantiques features vintage and antique furnishings

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Daily file photo by Colin Boyle

Swantiques pop-up shop, 518 Main St. Owner and Evanston resident Lora Swanson discusses the impact of the pandemic on her shop. Amid COVID-19 restrictions, Swanson said she’s seeing a larger turnout than she had expected.

Laya Neelakandan, Reporter

As cold weather sets in and residents spend more time indoors, the Swantiques pop-up shop offers shoppers an opportunity to fill their spaces with antique, vintage and mid-century furnishings.

Swantiques, a shop in the Chicago area that offers furniture, lighting, art, rugs and other items, is running its pop-up at 518 Main St. from Oct. 3 to 25. The main warehouse is located in Skokie, and their current pop-up features merchandise from John Liberty Art, Coucou & Olive and Peak Stuff Vintage.

“I like doing pop-ups because it’s a fun way for people to shop that’s always new and different,” Swantiques owner Lora Swanson said. “It’s like a show, instead of a store that’s always there.”

The pandemic forced Swanson to pivot her business plans, and she had to cancel her scheduled pop-up last spring due to COVID-19 safety concerns, she said.

Swanson said she wasn’t originally optimistic about her prospects for a pop-up this fall. She said she faced a lot of uncertainty and questioned whether people would want to shop during the pandemic.

“It’s been kind of like an experiment… but it’s been an overwhelming success,” Swanson said. “A lot of people have come in, more than I thought, looking for desks and chairs because they’re spending a lot of time at home.”

Swanson said she and her colleagues are ensuring that every COVID-19 precaution is in place. She spent her time in lockdown creating an e-commerce website for people to shop without having to come into the store.

For Coucou & Olive owner Kellie Poulos, the pop-up provided the perfect opportunity to sell her clothes after closing her shop earlier this year.

“It’s been the right timing and the right space,” Poulos said. “Everything just fell into place, and sales have been great.”

She also said Swanson has a great reputation in Downtown Evanston, and that the location of her pop-up is perfect to catch the attention of Main Street traffic.

Like Poulos, John Liberty of John Liberty Art said his sales at the shop have been better than expected.

“I’m very thrilled with the sales,” he said. “They’ve been really great.”

Liberty, a self-described beginner artist, has sold some of his abstract paintings in the pop-up. He said his work appeals to people who are stuck at home and looking to “spruce up” their living spaces.

Additionally, Ginny Holbert, co-owner of Peak Stuff Vintage, said people have been “eager” to get out of their houses and shop.

“We were surprised at how well we’ve been doing,” Holbert said. “We have one more week left and many items are on sale, so I’m hoping to see more people.”

Given how successful this pop-up has been, Swanson hopes to do more frequent pop-ups in the future with more vendors, like “a mini market.”

“I want to thank the Evanston community for coming out and supporting a small business during this time,” Swanson said.

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