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The Shop at the Center: The North Shore's Best Kept Secret

June 02, 2021

by Caron Blitz

Are you a treasure hunter? Searching for a meaningful place to donate your own treasures? Looking for unique, handmade gifts?

If you answered “yes” then check out the North Shore’s best kept secret: The Shop at the Center.

Located just inside the entrance of North Shore Senior Center (NSSC), it’s easy to browse in the store or drop off donations.

Recently, I visited NSSC for the first time and never knew this gem was nestled a few blocks south of the Northfield Mariano’s at Winnetka and Northfield roads. Within the walls of this sprawling, magnificent building is an art studio, an auditorium, gym, meeting rooms and more. 

Now shop 24/7!

Now you can visit The Shop 24/7 from the comfort of your home as well as in person. Visit www.nssc.org and click on “Shop with Us." The online store is regularly updated with  vintage, classic and contemporary finds. Click away, pay online, and get your purchases in-store or at curbside pick-up. 

“Whether you donate, purchase or both, you are empowering older adults and their families because all sales proceeds directly benefit NSSC,” explained Rose Carroll, who oversees The Shop and directs the Center’s Arts and Crafts programs. “Our volunteers sort, polish, price, and display the merchandise and make friendships along the way so it’s a winning combination. And it’s a delight to see customers revel at the one-of-a-kind treasures including many items handcrafted by our members and volunteers.”

At press time, the kaleidoscope of merchandise includes an acrylic table sculpture by a top artist, a vintage designer handbag, unique serving pieces, and hard-to-find clip-on earrings at bargain prices.


Folk Art Dolls ($10!)

Sharon, a NSSC volunteer, lovingly makes each doll in varying fabrics.  Her dolls are a light-hearted way to help ease the anxiety many of us are feeling after an especially stressful year. Each dolls comes with this poem:

When you’re feeling stressed

And just a little depressed

Just give me a squeeze

And maybe a hug, please 

Know happier days are coming.

Don’t worry, Be happy!

Damnit! Dolls ($10!)

These hilarious dolls, each uniquely designed by Machiko in the Sewing Bees Club, comes with the following poem (Great for anger management!):

When you think you want to climb the walls

Or stand right up and shout! 

Here’s a little damnit doll you cannot do without;

Just grasp it firmly by the legs,

And find a place to slam it;

Then as you whack the stuffing out, say


Knitted baby sweaters and blankets ($40 or less!)

Soft, adorable baby sweaters and blankets hand-knitted by Judy and Bonnie make the perfect gifts to welcome special little folks into the world.

Hand-embroidered Tea Towels and Cloth Microwave Potholders ($20 or less!)

Keep several of these unique gifts on hand for your hosts as social gatherings kick up again.

Donation Yes List:

Bring donations of the following new or gently used (preferably upscale) items during regular Shop hours (9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday):

Vintage items

Jewelry and accessories




Home decor

Donation No List:

Due to space limitations, the following cannot be accepted for donation:


Computers and electronics

Clothing and shoes


Sources for Items The Shop Cannot Accept:

Habitat for Humanity Restore (furniture and appliances)

Chicago Furniture Bank

Chicago Tool Library (tools for building and fixing)

Consignment stores

Junk removal companies 

Contact Information:

The Shop at the Center

Hours: 9 a.m.- 3:30 p.m. Monday - Friday

161 Northfield Road, Northfield



As a 60+ Savvy Shopper living in Riverwoods, Caron Blitz gets what folks our age look for in products and is always on the look-out for “fun finds” and the best values. For future columns, she’d love to hear what you, the shopper, would like us to feature. If you are a retailer, let us know what special products and services you offer for older adults. 

Email: SavvyShopperColumn@gmail.com.