The first floor of the Peace Love and Pickin' thrift store at 4859 W. Irving Park Road is seen on July 26, 2023. Credit: Ariel Parrella-Aureli/Block Club Chicago

PORTAGE PARK — For about 30 years, Shannon and Rodney Shaffer have been filling up their Chicago home, two trailers and an Arkansas cottage with vintage and antique finds.

From the Midwest to the South, the family combines their travel with extra time to go “picking” for vintage goods at thrift shops, flea markets and resellers.

The Uptown couple had planned to open a vintage store with all their picks after retirement, but once the pandemic shifted Rodney Shaffer’s full-time job to a remote status — and with little space left in their homes to store items — the two decided to open their dream store early.

Peace Love and Pickin’, 4859 W. Irving Park Road, opened last week. The shop offers hundreds of handpicked, unique vintage items reasonably priced and ready to find their person, the owners said.

Rodney and Shannon Shaffer, owners of Peace Love and Pickin’ at 4859 W. Irving Park Road, smile while talking about their thrift store on July 26, 2023. Credit: Ariel Parrella-Aureli/Block Club Chicago

From jewelry to furniture, glassware, clothing, old toys and movies, the owners hope patrons can find something that speaks to their nostalgia.

“What we wanted is when you come in, it’s literally like you’re walking into the past and into someone’s home,” Rodney Shaffer said. “We want you to feel like you are in your grandma’s house or your great aunt’s house … we have set this up as little rooms in a house.”

The store has a first floor and a basement full of goods that date back to the early 1900s. The owners are constantly getting new items to add — which means repeatedly playing Tetris inside the store, they said.

They offer free delivery for large furniture to customers on the Northwest Side in their van, “Gideon the Gatherer,” Rodney Shaffer said.

“We’re always going to be getting new stuff and keep picking — that’s our thing,” Shannon Shaffer said. “Keep it fresh and give reasonable prices so people will buy them and so we get new inventory all the time.”

Vintage home goods line the basement. Credit: Ariel Parrella-Aureli/Block Club Chicago

Rodney Shaffer, who grew up thrifting and collecting vintage goods with his parents in central Illinois, has a passion for the art and enjoys bartering with folks who want to sell him vintage items, he said.

“That’s what I love about it: making deals, and I like it when people make offers,” he said. “We love the whole thrift, flea market and vintage market… that’s why we wanted our store to have a mix of everything.”

He especially loves lamps and rare items with historical value, and recently found a 1967 Continental Art Company of Chicago Greek goddess statue lamp made in Chicago that still works.

Another favorite find is a dish from R.S. Prussia that predates the Soviet Union which he bought at an auction in southern Illinois, he said.

“The first thing I think of is, think of the story this dish can tell, where it was made in Prussia to where I found it in the middle-of-nowhere in southern Illinois and now it’s in my shop,” he said.

Rodney Shaffer shows off a cranberry globe lamp made in the Bronx in the 1950s. Credit: Ariel Parrella-Aureli/Block Club Chicago

It’s particularly exciting when special items like these find their “next chapter” when someone buys them, Shannon Shaffer said.

The couple chose the Six Corners storefront because it was in their price range and had the square footage and layout they desired, they said. Since opening, they have found a welcoming community and the right clientele.

“The neighborhood has been amazing,” Shannon Shaffer said.

“Just in the two days that we were open, everyone that we’ve met has been so nice, so it just seems like a perfect spot for our vibe,” Rodney Shaffer said. “This is our passion, we’ve loved doing this kind of stuff and we’ve dreamed of this.”

The store has deals every weekend on specific items, which will be announced on its social media and website.

Peace Love and Pickin’ is open 1-7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and by appointment on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Help Block Club Get
500 More Subscribers!

Subscribe to Block Club now and you’ll get a free 16-by-20-inch Chicago neighborhood print of your choice, helping us reach our goal of getting 500 more subscribers before 2024. Click here to subscribe or click here to gift a subscription.

Listen to the Block Club Chicago podcast: