Wheaton antique shop, JB Winterberry—short for Julie Barb Winterberry—is closing after nearly a decade of serving the community. The 750 square feet store opened in 2001, grew to 5,200 square feet and became the workplace of nearly twenty employees.
JB Winterberry is owned by a mother, Barbara Mueller and a daughter, Julie Lancia. They used their names with Winterberry, a word they both found cozy and appealing, and the shop was born. Lancia has worked in retail her whole life and her mother, Mueller, had always had a passion and love for antiques. They decided to combine their loves and make their dream a reality. The main focus of the store was to be a destination for gifts, antiques and home décor.
"We did great and expanded into the garden in 2004 and into the Great Room in 2008," Lancia said.
"When it was good and they could afford it, people bought stuff," she added.
Lancia said the biggest surprise of her experience at JB Winterberry was how well they've gotten to know the community. "We have had such great employees," she said. "We've really become a family."
Whenever they could, the store owners would help local charities. They decorated for the House Walk, an annual 5K that benefits the Wheaton History Center, and they have held seminars to help inspire the community to decorate their own homes.
When business began slowing in early 2009, the store had to downsize. Optimistically, the owners referred to the process as "going back to our roots." They had hoped business would pick up and they would grow back into the space.
The closing of the shop has been bittersweet.
"Employees and customers can relate to the several children who have grown so fond of the shop that they go home and play 'JB Winterberry,'" said Mueller.
Among countless other awards they've received, JB Winterberry was voted Best Antique Shop-Reader's Choice awards in the Daily Herald and Best Antique Store- West Suburban Living Magazine in 2009.
Nancy Zuckerman, a lifetime Wheaton resident and JB Winterberry customer, said "It is one of my favorite stores in Wheaton. It is sad and depressing that it couldn't keep going. It is so intimate and the whole ambiance here is pleasant."
The shop will close this Saturday October 2nd after nearly a decade being in business.