The Flossmoor Business Association organized a “sip, snack and shop” open house Thursday, Dec. 8, to showcase the businesses in Flossmoor Commons. From 5 to 7 p.m., the community came to visit the new businesses and vendors who offered store discounts, tables of free food, eggnog and champagne.
In the holiday spirit, there was a live Santa Claus for the kids and a mechanical Santa Claus that sang and danced. An inflatable Frosty the Snowman the size of a small building, a giant Christmas tree and Hanukkah menorah were set up next to the Flossmoor Commons logo.
Flossmoor Commons sits along the north side of Vollmer Road between Governors Highway and Kedzie Avenue. In a group effort, businesses placed luminaries along the outer sidewalk for a festive feel as guests walked from store to store.
“We wanted to do a holiday open house in Flossmoor Commons to introduce the community to all of the new merchants that we have here. Every space is now rented,” Kluger Furs co-owner Sue Kluger said. The business had a table of wine and sandwiches catered by Flossmoor’s Dunnings Market.
Marianne Muir of Empathetic Massage, a new business that recently opened in Flossmoor Commons’ office building, gave free massages to Kluger Furs customers.
NU Medical Supplies offered water bottles and band aids to passersby. After getting their attention, store owner Doreatha T. Booker told them about the store’s CBD vapes, knee and back braces, joint pain oils and other products.
Injured athletes often buy crutches and knee/ankle braces at major chain stores, Booker said. She offers personal service that includes measurements for a proper fit of a brace, crutch or other implement. She also believes some customers who use CBD and Delta-8 THC for medicinal purposes can feel comfortable coming to her business.
Karyn’s Kitchen, a vegan restaurant that specializes in raw food, had free samples of their chocolate brownies.
Product Freak, a Black-owned beauty supply store, was decked out in green, red and gold Christmas ornaments. Christmas music was in the background. Store owner Kristi Dinkins had a special treat for shoppers. An elf on the shelf was hidden somewhere in the store. If a customer found the elf, they got 50% off their purchase. Dinkins said she will continue to do this on surprise days throughout the month of December.
Local vendor Inspired Creativity Body Products set up a booth inside of Product Freak selling holiday gift bags and offering free samples. At the booth, Kimberly Roberts sold handcrafted skin butter, skin scrubs, beard oil for men, hair oil for women and other all natural products.
The Mommie Experience, a selfie museum, had a mechanical Santa Claus near the front entrance. Any time someone walked past, he wished them a pleasant holiday season, talking and singing for several minutes.
The seasonal room in the Mommie Experience is Christmas themed for the rest of the month. Props are included but not limited to the Grinch, reindeer and holiday lights. Co-owner Nicole Johnson said it’s a good place to take family photos for holiday cards.
DeLorne Bridal, a specialty store that sells wedding dresses, prom dresses and tuxedos, had a live Santa Claus and a place for him to sit. Andre R. Russel, also known as “Chicago’s Black Santa,” took photos with customers and heard children’s Christmas wish list. Russel helped prepare cups of free egg nogg for customers, complete with whipped cream, sprinkles and a cinnamon stick.
“People have been popping in just to see what we have – which is great,” DeLorne Bridal owner Sheila Humphrey said. “We wanted people to see what these stores offer, not necessarily come buy anything.”
The store usually makes its sales through one-on-one appointments that are an hour for prom dresses and tuxedos and two hours for bridal consultations. Humphrey said because of body issues and other self-conscious feelings many customers appreciate the privacy offered by DeLorne Bridal.
“We’re excited to get an event here in Flossmoor Commons,” Flossmoor Business Association president Maureen Mader said. “We’ve been trying for years to get this area highlighted. But finally, Flossmoor Commons, which had a 60% vacancy rate during COVID, now is completely full of vibrant businesses.”