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Dawn Okamoto (Owner) & Henry Flora (Director of Operations), Secret Treasures Antiques

· Gifts n Collectibles

Tell us about Secret Treasures

Dawn says: "We sell antique and vintage FUN merchandise. If it makes you smile, we sell it" .

From North Shore Home & Beyond: "Most of the items you will find here date from the 1920s to 1950s. You might even find a 1950s Radio Flyer Wagon or an original 1940s military issued Hamilton watch. It’s always an uncertainty to see what might appear, which is half the fun.”

From Best of Chicago 2011 "80 Great Finds": "Okamoto and her staff are passionate about changing it up seasonally: In the summer, there are watering cans and 48-star flags; in the winter, you can pick up tree ornaments like Grandma used to hang. Her offerings include 1940s printed tablecloths, costume jewelry, Mad Men–style martini glasses, and pressed-glass cake stands. 'These aren’t investment pieces, just collectibles that still function,' she says."

From Yelp: "They have two rooms full of fascinating things - jewelry! furniture! crazy antique umbrellas! chalk fish to hang on the wall! - that run the gamut from elegant to over-the-top, from kitschy to nostalgic to My-Grandma-Had-That!!”

605 Dempster Street, Evanston, IL 60201

http://secrettreasures.biz

Hours:
Tuesday ~ Saturday,
11:00 am to 5:00 pm

The first Sunday of every month 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm

What's your origin story? How did Secret Treasures begin?

Dawn says: I worked in the corporate world. I thought "I can do this the rest of my life and be miserable or I can throw caution to the wind and take a chance on starting my own business." Twenty-four years later, I have never looked back.

What's the story behind the name "Secret Treasures?"

Dawn says: I wanted people to be intrigued and curious about what they could find. I wanted them to experience the thrill of the discovery when you uncover a "secret".

Tell us the story of selecting your location.

Dawn says: "I first looked at Southport Avenue in Chicago. I looked at the hours posted on all the stores. I realized they all had evening hours. Early to bed-early to rise is my motto, so no evening hours for me! My next choice was Evanston ... aha ... where stores close at 5pm ... BINGO."

What sets Secret Treasures apart from others that sell the same products?

Dawn says: "The attention we give our customers. Rule #1 at Secret Treasures, even if someone doesn't buy something we say "thank you". We want them to enjoy our shop. If they do, the sales just naturally follow. Customers have to have fun. I truly do have the friendliest staff."

From Yelp: "“In Chicago, it is RARE to find an antique store with reasonable prices. You always get the big-city mark-up if you're even lucky enough to find something special in the first place. Not so at Secret Treasures."

What advice would you give to someone who was thinking about opening a business?

Dawn says: "Days off are highly overrated and exhaustion is just a state of mind. And when you hire staff the mandate is for them to respect themselves and respect your time. If they do both you are going to have an amazing team."

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