LINCOLN SQUARE — If the shelves have looked a little bare at Eclecticity of late, it's not because the quirky gift shop is going out of business, as some customers feared. It's because the owners didn't feel like schlepping a massive amount of inventory to their new digs half a block north.
"It's like when you move apartments. I wanted to divest," said Siri Soderblom. "It's a way to come back to the stuff I really love."
Soderblom and Bambi Bellows — partners in life as well as business — first opened Eclecticity 14 years ago in Lakeview. The shop stocks a hard-to-define, dare we say eclectic, mix of new and vintage merchandise that ranges from jigsaw puzzles to witch balls (glass orbs thought to ward off evil spirits).
"The overriding theme of what we carry is s--- we think is really cool," Soderblom said.
The pair have occupied the storefront at 4718 N. Lincoln Ave. for the last six years and found themselves branching out into "less cool stuff" just to fill the cavernous space. Their search for a more manageable amount of square footage ended practically where it began, at 4752 N. Lincoln Ave. (former home of the recently departed Dressing Room).
"The first week we opened in the square, every single business owner came to welcome me," Soderblom recalled. "I'll do just about anything to stay in the square."
While the neighborhood has been kind to Eclecticity, the economy has been less so in recent years.
"If we sold cigarettes, beer and diapers, we'd be fine. But nobody needs one of these," said Soderblom, gesturing to a mobile of paper mache flying women.
Greeting cards "saved our necks" as the economy "went down into the toilet," she said. "I didn't want to give up if I could possibly not."
A smaller storefront, which can be run with a smaller staff, ensures that Eclecticity will survive well into the future, Soderblom said.
"People have been saying, 'I'm so glad you're not going out of business,'" said Soderblom. "I don't think they're saying that just to make me feel nice."
Starting Saturday, Eclecticity will run a progressive sale on merchandise remaining at the shop's old address, 4718 N. Lincoln Ave. Items are 20 percent off Saturday and Sunday; 30 percent off Monday and Tuesday; 40 percent off Wednesday and Thursday, and 50 percent off May 10 and 11, when the doors close for good. Mention the word "bonus" for an extra 10 percent discount.
The new location will open concurrently, fingers-crossed, on Saturday, Soderblom said.