Woman's resale shop brings back memories

Published1/23/2008 12:36 AM

After retiring from her job as an insurance agent in 2007, Pat Wegner found herself sitting in her empty Bensenville insurance office with a lot of time on her hands.

"I'm a lousy cook, so I knew I didn't want to stay home and bake," she said. "I also knew I wasn't going back into insurance."


Instead, Wegner, of Elmhurst, went to work in a resale store one day a week.

"It was something I always wanted to try," she said. "And I found out that I enjoyed the people who came into the store, as well as the merchandise."

A slow real estate market helped Wegner clinch the decision to turn her former office, itself a converted home, into yet another conversion -- her own resale shop. She opened A Blast from the Past last September at 1339 W. Irving Park Road, Bensenville.

Over the years, Wegner said she's developed a fascination with vintage goods of all kinds -- "I like everything from junk to antiques."

Her interest stems in part from the memory of remodeling work she did on a three-flat in Chicago.

"I remember taking a crow bar to an oak china cabinet we had. I regret that to this day."

Wegner notes that in 2008, vintage merchandise has a cachet that it didn't have during her own childhood.

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"When I was young, everyone wanted things to be modern. There were no garage sales. If you bought something second hand, people made fun of you."

Once Wegner decided to open her own resale and consignment store, she hit the estate sales and her own accumulated stock of treasures to outfit the store.

"When it comes to buying, I enjoy the thrill of the deal," she said. "It really gets my adrenaline going."

Wegner says customers are enchanted by the look of her store because it resembles a home decorated in a bygone era. Antique bowls, knick-knacks, plates, linens and a yellow Bakelite radio complete the look in the kitchen, while vintage furniture, artwork and lamps customize the store's living room. A sleigh bed, vintage clothes, hats and purses adorn the bedroom.

"Every vintage piece has a story to tell. Customers will look at the Depression glassware and tell me they remember having those dishes when they grew up. Or they see an item and tell me it's something their mother had. They're happy because it brings back good memories," Wegner said. "That's what keeps customers coming back."

Currently, vintage items that are in demand include furniture and artwork. And if you have a really unique collection of old records, oil lamps or owls, Wegner might have a buyer for you. When it comes to consignment, Wegner's tastes are eclectic and she invites people to call for more details.

"People really appreciate the quality of the items that have survived over the years. And they're also mixing older pieces with contemporary items. It makes for a warmer and more inviting home, and makes any decor more interesting."

For details, call (630) 650-8001.

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