Shopping with the Lulas: Eclectic: The place for baskets, collectibles and gifts

Hello, Dahlin‘s, Lula Mae here. OK, fine, ya’ll asked for it, so here ya go. You know us from Lula’s Vintage Boutique (Luan, the “Lu” and Lauretta, the “la”), but now you will also know us as “Shopping with the Lulas.”

Welcome to our shopping review column, where we’ll tell ya’ll about the best local shopping hot spots in Rockford and the surrounding areas—who they are, what they have and what you can’t live without. Because you know how we LOVE to shop.

We wanted to start off our new “journalistic endeavor” with some place near and dear to our hearts by introducing you to the ladies over at Eclectic in downtown Rockford.

ECLECTIC (pronounced EK-LEK-TIC) is just as the name describes: eclectic and unusual. It’s a store just chock full of new and gently used one-of-a-kind gift items. Are you wondering why you haven’t heard of this new little slice of shopping heaven? Well, Dorothy, they have only been around since August 2005.

Eclectic, downtown in the River District at 308 E. State St., can be recognized by its striped and brightly colored awnings and “cuter than cute” sandwich sign out front. This store sparkles just as bright and colorful as the name itself.

But the excitement doesn’t end there…

Eclectic specializes in gifts, and OH MY GAH do they have gifts galore! Men as well as women will find this store a treasure trove of gifty and one-of-a-kind items. The prices range anywhere from 50 cents (greeting cards) to $100 (Tiffany-style lamp), which is GORGEOUS and one of my favorite things in the store (that among many others).

Speaking of favorites, here are a few of this Lula’s favorite items that I can’t live without:

The Martini Gift Basket: This basket bulges with everything the “Cosmo-suers” and “Apple-tini” lover could ever hope to receive from Santa Baby. This basket is a must-have on my holiday wish list (HINT HINT!!).

When you first walk into this charming boutique, you can’t help but notice the outrageously “Dahling Diva” pillows along the bottom edge of the front table. These unique, one-of-a-kind, handmade creations just scream to be displayed and put out for show.

Cindy Furney and Sharon Hendricks, the divas behind Eclectic, are not only business partners but also friends who share a love for the unusual and different—hence the name Eclectic. Both women bring their own personal style and tastes, which give Eclectic a whimsical and homey feel.

Their store location once housed the Schleicher Printing business, which is still in the rear of the building. The building is a gorgeous example of the historic architecture we are blessed with in downtown Rockford. With a colorful coat of paint, and, of course, a woman’s touch, these women have added another gem to our downtown’s tiara.

Handmade, embroidered tea towels and linens are just one of this shop’s unique items. Designs include adorable Swedish Dala horses, fluffy kitty cats and holiday-themed items that make great hostess gifts.

Eclectic also carries collectibles with names such as Dreamsicles, Precious Moments, Snowbabies and some Department 56. But this store’s real forté is gift baskets, gift baskets and MORE GIFT BASKETS.

Select from one of their pre-made baskets or have one custom-made for a special occasion—even a gift basket for the Texas Hold ’Em lover on my list. Had to have it! Gift basket selections include coffee, tea, lotions, soaps, candles, poker and martini. Prices start around $10 on up, depending on what the customer requires.

So venture downtown to 308 E. State St. and make Eclectic a stop in your quest for shopping nirvana. We promise it will be worth your trip. Eclectic’s hours are 11 a.m to 4 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday, or by appointment. More info, call 871-7585 or 298-2113.

So, Dahlin‘s, until next time, charge it!—Lula Mae Cobb

Luan Dean and Lauretta Rundgren are co-owners of Lula’s Vintage Boutique in downtown Rockford. Those of you who have visited our store on State Street know that we, “The Lulas” or “Lula Mae Cobb” (stands for Crazy Old Broad) as we call ourselves, are connoisseurs of vintage finery for men and women. You also know that we love to shop and are the self-proclaimed “Shopping Divas of Rockford.” For those of you we have yet to meet, what are you waiting for? Since being a true “Lula” is all about finding the best deal and the most unique items, we’ve decided that you, our dear readers, were ready for us to share some of the best-kept shopping secrets in Rockford and the surrounding area. So sit back, put on your best rose-colored glasses, enjoy the ride, and go “Shopping with the Lulas.”

From the Dec. 21-27, 2005, issue

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