ReTales : The Story Behind the Store

Serko Mart LLC (Mediterranean Grocery Store and Sandwiches) at 922 W. Algonquin Road 
Owned by Vartkes Panossian 
We are a unique neighborhood grocery store dedicated to serve Armenian, Assyrian, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, European, Persian and many other ethnic groups. We carry a vast variety of products, organic foods, spices, sweets, deli meats, and sandwiches from all over the world. Our friendly staff is eager to welcome you to Serko Mart and help you with all your shopping needs. 

At the start of the pandemic, Vartkes Panossian had lost his job of 30 years. As a family, they decided it was best  to take a chance and open their own business. Vartkes had previous knowledge on how to run a grocery store through his father's business back in Beirut, Lebanon. This led to the decision to duplicate his father's store and keep the same store name in his honor.

Vartkes chose Arlington Heights because location of the city is central to all ethnic groups and convenient to get to, and there was no existence or history of such a store in the city of Arlington Heights.

Vartkes said, "By supporting small businesses you are helping the Village gain taxes to help with city improvements. Small businesses are clean, organized, and have unique items that the big chains are not interested in. The convenience of a small neighborhood store is that you are in and out with no long lines and you do not have to drive long distance for small purchase." Visit Serko Mart today! 

Thrown Elements Pottery at 260 N. Evergreen Ave. 
Owned by Andi Ruhl
Arlington Heights is a vibrant community with a hometown feel. As someone that is raising my own family here, I wanted to share my love of pottery by creating a space where all could enjoy the experience.

I believe that creative expression is a source of self-knowledge, healing, and joy. I wanted to create a space where everyone could let their inner artist thrive. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced potter, I wanted to build a studio that would provide a comfortable, fun, and inspiring environment in which people of all ages and abilities could enjoy creating, learning, and growing.

We are a unique studio because we offer a full spectrum of pottery and clay experiences. We have pre-made, ready to paint bisque pottery, as well as an offering of hand building and wheel classes. These classes are available to all ages, from beginner to advanced, and are taught by extremely talented artisans.

All of the money spent at a small and local businesses stays in the community. We also support many local fundraising needs because we are invested in the Arlington Heights community. As an small business owner who lives in the same town where she works, I am invested in my customers in the same way I hope they are invested in my studio.

Obsession Boutique at 16 S. Dunton Ave.

Owned by Teresa Habczyk
The Village of Arlington Heights was my first location choice because its downtown is probably the nicest I have seen. I absolutely love the community, friendly clients, and other small business owners who are very supporting. 

My journey started in 2006 with $300 in my pocket. It began with natural stones and jewelry design. After five years, I decided to open a boutique and the rest is history. This is my true passion and I absolutely love what I do. 

Obsession Boutique offers one of a kind hand chosen fashion from international brands. We order limited quantities of each style because we want our clients to feel special and exclusive. Obsession boutique is not a typical boutique, we are more of a styling studio. Our mission is to make every client feel confident and beautiful.

It is very important for residents to support their local businesses because spending money within our Village helps grow our local economy and community. But what is even more important is that customers who shop at small businesses support the the dreams of the owner and their family. 

Grace Foods , 807 W. Rand Rd. 
Owned by Chrispain & Lycid Muntu
Grace Foods is committed to providing the highest quality, fresh, authentic and healthy Oriental, African & Caribbean foods to our customers and community. Products like Plum/Safou, Misili/Ferm leaf will only be find at Grace Foods… Cassava leaves, Norway Horse Mackerel, fufu, Chikwange just to name few, are products that are hard to find in the area, but can be found in Grace Foods in Arlington Heights.  

We’ve been visiting Arlington Heights for a while because of our church and we find out that it’s a good place for the growth of the business. Arlington Heights has a lot of community projects that we wanted to be part of. And we have customers coming from other cities like Chicago, Waukegan… coming to get what we are offering. The city of Arlington Heights is a central location for our customers even though some of them don’t mind driving to our store because of the specialty that we have.

Thrill Vintage: 11 E. Campbell Ave. 
Owners: Susan & Bill Vasilogabros

We believe that in every piece of furniture, every painting, every little antique knick-knack there's a story to tell. Who created it? What inspired its creation? Who owned it before? Where is it going next? Your home is a special place and it deserves to be filled with special treasures. Here at Thrill Vintage, we provide those one-of-a-kind items for which you've been searching for years, items that thrill. We travel all over Europe and here in the Midwest for the most unique treasures, and sell them to you at an incredibly affordable price. Stop by our store in cozy, beautiful Downtown Arlington Heights and find the next, best item for your house. Tell a new story and add a little vintage to your home.

Upstairs Boutique & Gift: 7 E. Campbell St. 
Owner: Helen Budzisz

We loved the idea of opening a shop in a downtown that was family friendly and walkable. A lot of customers were commuters or visitors who would stop and shop after getting off at the downtown Arlington Heights Metra stop. We also had a lot of customers who lived in the community and it's always so nice having customers that could walk to our store. 

Upstairs Boutique is proud to call Arlington Heights our home for the past 32 years! We offer unique women's clothing and accessories, baby gifts, and items you won't find anywhere else. Whether you're looking for a gift or something special for yourself, let us help by making your shopping experience a fun one! 

We pride ourselves in offering items from local artists and we're always on the search for new and exciting things to bring into our store for your shopping enjoyment. We are always adding to our collection so you never know what you'll find! 

By supporting local businesses, you're also supporting your community. When you purchase items in our town, you're stimulating the local economy. We believe in the importance of supporting local so we do our best to support local artists as well. We bring their one-of-a-kind, hand-made items to you! 

Thuringer Meats: 624 S. Arthur Ave.
Owner: Walter Tenhoopen

Thuringer Meats opened to Arlington Heights shoppers in 1973 with the mission of spreading their love of incredible food and the finest ingredients as widely as possible.

Owner Walter Tenhoopen says, "Arlington Heights was in need of great cuts of meats and we jumped at the opportunity to provide the community with great meats and great customer service! We couldn’t have asked for a better reception. Since we first started operating, we’ve developed a loyal fan base that is as particular about good food as we are!  We love keeping things local and love that when people shop at our store, the retail tax stays here in Arlington Heights, so the community can prosper! We also help various charities around the area!" 

Flaherty Jewelers: 22 S. Evergreen Ave. 
Owner:  Katie Flaherty Starzyk

Dorothy and Jack decided to open a Jewelry Store in 1947 in Arlington Heights because they were entrepreneurs. They both worked at the Elgin Watch Factory in Elgin and decided to start their own business and raise a family in Arlington Heights. They purchased the only Jewelry Store in town, on the corner of Dunton and Campbell. Flaherty Jewelers is still in Downtown and the oldest Jewelry Store in town!

Flaherty Jewelers has been where family tradition sparkles as part of history in downtown Arlington Heights. The Flaherty family gained ownership of their first location at the corner of Dunton and Campbell in 1947. In 2015 Flaherty Jewelers relocated from one of the most notable landmark "Brick Block" buildings to Evergreen Plaza just a half block down Dunton. Changes throughout the years have modernized their workshop and technology. One thing that has never changed is Flaherty's commitment to customer service and continued education in the ever changing Gemological field. Flaherty Jewelers is committed to providing jewelry which is both durable and of good design. The Flaherty Family has helped Arlington Heights couples select rings for years, and now is helping the grandchildren of those marriages select rings!

The family owned, independent jewelry store is well known as the area's major diamond dealer and remount specialist. Flaherty's favorite is custom design! We carry a vast selection of American made jewelry from sterling silver to platinum with diamonds. Our cases are filled with variety, from vintage replicas to contemporary designs from cutting-edge artists.

The Flaherty Family and staff have committed to many volunteer organizations throughout the years. Mike and Sharon Flaherty are still volunteering their time in retirement! Flaherty Jewelers supports many local programs by buying ads or donating prizes to a silent auction. We offer the best customer service face to face, from a local resident.

Sedona by Manzano Jewelers - 6 W. Campbell St. 
Owners: Gabriela and Alfonzo Manzano

Originally drawn to the community after visiting their sons who called Arlington Heights home, Gabriela and her husband Alfonzo decided to open their store in May of 2018. 

In her own words, she recalls her story:
"My husband Alfonzo and I, Gabriela Manzano, ventured to go into the world of jewelry during the very early '90s, little did we know that our passion, love, and taste for the finest metals and gems would be an exciting part of our lives and the beginning of our jewelry stores begun. Alfonzo, through extensive research, taught himself the many facets of crafting and designing and by doing so he developed and mastered his unique technique. Without a doubt, we ventured and established our first jewelry store in 1995 under our previous name Manzano's Jewelry. Our craftsmanship is fine jewelry with an emphasis on quality, uniqueness, and original pieces handmade by Alfonzo at our store, we also offer fine silver and turquoise jewelry handcrafted by Southwest Native American artists. Our staff is Alfonzo, Gabriela, and our loveable dog and Mascot, Momo."

Sedona by Manzano offers the finest in silver and turquoise jewelry handcrafted by Native American artists in the southwest. As well as unique one-of-a-kind pieces, handcrafted in gold, platinum & silver by Alfonzo Manzano.

You can create a custom design, reinvent your old jewelry, and get a complete jewelry service or jewelry  repair while you wait. Find your next favorite piece at Sedona by Manzano Jewelers! 

Vanessa’s Modern Bride – 12 W. Campbell Street
Owners: Donna Vittorrini, Sofia Dang, and Lisa Peters

The historic downtown of Arlington Heights has been home to Vanessa's bridal salon for 37 years. Thousands of bridal gowns have been displayed in the lovely high window of our building on Campbell Street since 1996. It has been a privilege to serve the brides and their families of the Arlington Heights community, we are very glad that we have chosen to open our retail store here.

Vanessa’s Modern Bride was established in 1985 by Donna Vittorrini, who named the business after her daughter Vanessa. Over the years, the salon has served thousands of beautiful brides from Illinois and across the country. Today, the legacy that started over 3 decades ago continues with Lisa and Sofia, providing our brides high quality gowns, and the high level of service given to every customer at our salon. Our salon features gorgeous couture bridal gowns from top designers in the industry. We also offer gowns and dresses for bridesmaids, mothers of the wedding, and flower girls, along with top quality accessories.

Arlington Heights residents have always been supportive of Vanessa's for the unique, high quality, and curated selections of dresses we offer. Our unbeatable customer service and convenience made us top choice when shopping for bridal gowns.

Visit for more! 

Vintages Wine Shop: 32 S. Evergreen Ave. 
Owner: Robert Owings

Vintages Wine Shop opened in 2003 after choosing downtown Arlington Heights for its unique "city-chic" atmosphere. After 18 years of business in downtown Arlington, Vintages Wine Shop continues to offer an exciting collection of more than 600 "outside of the ordinary" wines from all around the world! They offer a wine club as an easy way to try new and interesting wines each month, and tastings so you can find your new favorites! They also offer a fun selection of local and unique spirits for the hard-to-shop-for person on your list. 

When you need to buy a gift for someone, support your local businesses to help build a sense of community and to enhance the beauty and value of your Village. Shop Vintages Wine for a curated selection of interesting wines, local craft spirits, and beautiful gifts for every home!