Penelopes is a consignment shop which only takes nicer clothes, many of which are designer. They also take accessories, such as shoes and purses. The clothes are in excellent shape and many of them still have tags on them. This store is a great place to expand a working womans wardrobe of buy that special outfit for a night on the town- for a fraction of what you would pay at a department store. The prices are reasonable and the staff are nice. If you would like to place items on consignment, they do that by appointment only. They will try to sell your things and then send you the check. Anything that does not sell, you can pick up or they will donate it.
Usa Gourmet is located across from Eastland Mall. They carry specialty gifts and goumet food and treats. They usually have some things available to sample, so you can try out some foods before you purchase them. They carry imported treats and candies and they also make gift baskets. The staff will assist you in finding the perfect treat! Parking is plentiful and the store is easy to find.
The Garlic Press is located in downtown Normal. They carry a large selection of gourmet food, hard to find and specialty cookware, and gifts. They offer classes on cooking and crafts. They also carry a good selection of gourmet chocolates. They are the only store in the area to carry Joseph Scmidt truffles. The staff is friendly and helpful. The parking can be a bit of a problem as parking is only available on the street.
After seeing many examples of their beautiful work, I decided to give them a try. They are pretty expensive, but I decide it would be worth it. They took alot of poses and let us have several different outfit changes. When my young son, who they were great with, was growing bored, they suggested we come back at a later date to finish the shoot. When it came time for the pictures, however, things went down hill a little. They told me I could come in to view them at a set date, but they weren't ready then. After I ordered them, the same thing happened....they were not ready by the date they had given me. Overall, we did get some cute pictures, but I did not feel it was worth the money.
Distinctive Gold is a family run business and everyone that works there is very nice. They carry a large selection of beautiful jewelry - gold, white gold, platinum, etc. This place is a must for a one of a kind, high qualitly engagement ring, too. All of their diamonds are exquisite and they will take the time to explain how a diamond is rated and they will even pull out the jewelers loop so you can see for yourself. Alot of their jewelry are things they go over to Italy and bring back. Their prices might be more than you would pay at the mall, but they are of much better quality.
The Scrapbook Stop is a fairly large, well organized store. Their prices are average and in line with what most other stores. You can get a discount by using your SIAM card (fundraiser for Licolnway Highschool band). They also offer a large table and area of sale items. They have a good selection of cardstock and papers. they carry alot of stickers and embellishments and have recnly added to their ribbon selection. they offer classes and crops in their large cropping area.
Clark and Barlow is a large hardware store located in historic downtown Bloomington. The store takes up several floors and is filled with all of your practical hardware needs, as well as more unique things. They carry the decorative hard to find pieces that you just can't get in a national chain store. The staff is helpful and knowledgable, answering all of your questions. The prices are quite reasonable as well.
Rising Stars is a huge faciltly that offers gymnastics lessons, open gyms, and private parties. I have not had experience with the lessons, but we have gone to the open gym many times. They offer them several times a week and it is only $5 per child. There, your child (and you!) can jump on a trampoline, dive into a pit of foam blocks, walk on the balance beams, hang from the uneven bars, and play with all their mats and balls. They also offer a seperate gym for the younger children. It has less activites, but is safer for non walking babies and smaller toddlers. The gym is also available for birthday parties.
Backyard Adventures is a huge showroom filled with gorgeous all wood swingsets. While the swingsets are pricey, I am sure they are very well made. The staff is helpful and knowledgable. You can bring the kids in during regular business hours and they can try out the equiptment. Backyard Adventures is also available for private parties. You can schedule a birthday party, and have exclusive use of the swingsets in their show room for your alotted time. They also have a basketball court indoors and a lofted space with tables, for cake and presents. If you are not interested in them for a party, you can also schedule a playgroup there. Then, you pay per mom and you can stay for a two hours. This is a great idea especially during the winter months.
Garden of Beadin' is a great store for the beginning beader to the more accomplished beader. They carry a large selection of beautiful beads, like Swaroski crystals, Czech glass beads, beautiful natural stone beads, and much more. They also have add ons, like unique charms and clasps. Their staff is extremely helpful and will assist you in any way that they can. You can come in, pick out some different beads and discuss your ideas with them. They will then help you put together your piece of jewlery, using their tools, at no additional charge. For those of you who don't want to bead yourself, they carry a good sized selection of hand made jewelry, which makes for a one of a kind gift. They offer classes and private parties as well. When you do a private party, everyone gets a slight discount. Making your own jewelry is very in expensive, too.