It’s been 40 years and it is almost time. Karen Slavik and Teresa Marrandino have decided to close the doors on their business The Art Stop, located at 23 S. LaGrange Road in LaGrange. Not right away, but soon.
But for many years, the business was a downtown Riverside staple. The women opened their doors in March of 1976 in the Arcade Building, which at the time also was the site of the bicycle shop and a macramé store. It was to become a thriving business with three moves in Riverside and two in LaGrange.
For Marrandino and Slavik, the Art Stop became a place where customers became friends, and those relationships continued during all the moves. Marrandino spoke of the customer loyalty with people sharing much of their lives with them through business and friendship. She continued, stating that where else could one go every day, be surrounded by beautiful things, love what you do and meet incredible people. For the two women it is not what one would call “work” or a “job.” It is doing what they love to do and making a living at it.
The Art Stop is a place where they said they never knew when something new or different was going to come through the door for framing. I asked what was probably the most unusual thing they had framed and, after a pause, Marrandino described the time they framed a man’s pony tail, which he’d reluctantly had cut from his head. That one was near the top of the list.
Through the years they expanded their services. And while they always sold framed art they also began selling other lovely items in the shop that are art work in themselves, including jewelry.
The “girls” admit it was not an easy decision to close their thriving business, but they felt they wanted to do other things and are looking forward to seeing their customers and friends until they close the business.
Marrandino remarked while she had moved from Riverside, she never really left and can be seen shopping at Riverside Foods.
Though the Art Stop left Riverside it was considered part of the business history of the village.
The store will continue to take orders until the end of February 2017, and they expect to close the doors in the early spring, so it is not too early to think about holiday shopping, visit the shop and be surrounded by beautiful things in a business run by beautiful people.