WEST TOWN — West Town’s already-booming vintage clothing and housewares scene got a new addition last month with The Stoop, a shop featuring vintage housewares, clothing and more.
Owners Sasha Shver and Alex Sheehan opened The Stoop last month at 2135 W. Chicago Ave. after moving in February to Wicker Park from New York City.
Atlanta native Shver moved to New York City when she was 18 to attend fashion school. She spent the past 15 years working corporate jobs. The amount of waste in “fast fashion” was disturbing to witness, and the longtime vintage collector said she always dreamed of opening her own store to promote sustainable clothing and interior furnishings.
When the pandemic happened, she thought: Why not now?
“I love our apartment, I love the stuff,” she said. “If I’m like this, there must be someone out there who feels like this, too.”
Sheehan fell in love with thrifting during his “ska phase” in high school, when he’d shop for used Hawaiian shirts at his local Goodwill in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Vintage clothing and furniture is often made better than modern items and was built to last, he said.
For example, the foam padding in vintage couches and chairs “stays bouncy” much longer than modern padding.
“This stuff has survived decades and decades and decades,” he said. “There’s a charm. Someone lived in it, experienced memories in it.”
Most of The Stoop’s inventory is sourced from local estate sales and auctions. Part of the fun of thrifting is the “thrill of the chase,” Sheehan said.
The couple brings items back to The Stoop and spend a lot of time “upcycling” items to restore them. Decor made by local artist Erin Burke is for sale, as well.
Shver and Sheehan moved to Wicker Park with dog Daisy and cats Gordon and Kitty. They rented their storefront from a pair of Sheehan’s friends, who were also from Kenosha.
The couple said the West Town, Ukrainian Village and Wicker Park neighborhoods remind them of Brooklyn, which is where they lived in New York. They look forward to meeting their neighbors and eventually having boozy Brooklyn-style “stoop sales” in front of their shop.
Moving to Chicago made sense because it put the couple closer to Sheehan’s family in Wisconsin. But making such a big move during a pandemic and starting a business from scratch was scary, Shver said.
Once settled in the area, Shver was pleasantly surprised to stumble upon a special connection to Ukrainian Village.
After opening The Stoop, Shver noticed Cyrillic writing on store and restaurant signs along Chicago Avenue and overheard conversations in Ukrainian.
When she learned Ukrainian Village is still home to many Ukrainian immigrants, she started talking to neighbors in her native Slavic language, Russian. Many Russians and Ukrainians can understand each other well enough to have a conversation, Shver said.
Shver plans to become a regular at Ann’s Bakery and Deli, 2153 W. Chicago Ave., as well as other family-owned businesses.
“I was pretty freaked out to leave” New York, Shver said. “It was so important to be apart of a neighborhood, a community.”
For now, Sheehan is keeping his corporate job as a software engineer. He hopes to one day develop a mobile site for The Stoop that will allow neighbors to have their own “stoop sales” with help from Shver and Sheehan.
The Stoop is open 2-6 p.m. Thursday and noon-6 p.m. Friday-Sunday. Customers can also make appointments to shop after hours.
Follow The Stoop on Instagram.
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