All That Glitters

April 2024 View more

Five fresh spots that bring the glamour

The Babe Bodega

1. The Babe Bodega

132 W. Liberty Dr., Wheaton

On the corner of Hale and Liberty Streets in downtown Wheaton, the feminine energy is flowing inside The Babe Bodega. With powder-pink walls, accent pillows shaped like magenta lips, and the staff referring to everyone as “babes,” this new beauty business feels a little like a real-life (albeit less intense) Barbie’s dream house.

Joanna Jacobs, owner of The Babe Bodega
Joanna Jacobs, owner of The Babe Bodega

Owner Joanna Jacobs has adopted the tagline “Where glamour meets gathering” and envisions the space as a boutique-bar-spa hybrid. “My interest in beauty is client-driven,” she says. “I’m not a licensed beauty professional, but I saw a gap in the boutique and beauty service industry—there was a missing piece of gathering and connecting over things like beauty and fashion and accessories with women in your community.” The business soft-opened in January, with plans for an official ribbon-cutting in April.

Take a seat at the counter lined with velvet bar stools to create a custom shade of lipstick or lip gloss. At the permanent jewelry station, pick a delicate chain to have welded onto your wrist or ankle. Book a facial or brow wax appointment, and while you’re waiting, chat with other customers while browsing the clothing racks to find the perfect studded shacket or sparkly bodysuit.

Custom-made lipstick and lip gloss (left, top right) as well as permanent jewelry (bottom right) are some of The Babe Bodega’s offerings.
Custom-made lipstick and lip gloss (left, top right) as well as permanent jewelry (bottom right) are some of The Babe Bodega’s offerings.

“Coffee shops have become workspaces for getting things done, and I felt like there was a social piece missing,” Jacobs says. “It’s not even about us connecting with customers; it’s about customers connecting with each other over shared interests and shared experiences. It’s hard to meet people as an adult woman, to make new friends. Now you have someone who can connect those dots for you. [We can say,] ‘She’s from Glen Ellyn; she’s from Wheaton. Have you met?’ ”

The business was in part inspired by Jacobs’s experience with permanent jewelry. She started welding custom clasp-less bracelets for friends and family as a hobby and eventually launched The Chic Geeks, a permanent jewelry business that set up shop at events such as the Wheaton French Market. “I saw the power of it connecting people,” Jacobs says. “A lot of the time, groups or pairs will get matching bracelets or similar styles. Like a mom is a silver wearer, and her daughter is a gold wearer, so they get the same style but in different metals. It’s less permanent than a tattoo but has the same bonding experience.” (For more on permanent jewelry, check out “Weld to Do”).

Jacobs—who tended bar at Cadence Kitchen in Downers Grove and ran bar service at Master Axe in Bolingbrook—also secured a liquor license for The Babe Bodega that permits customers to purchase beer, wine, or a cocktail while partaking in beauty services. Groups of 12 or more also can book a semiprivate party. “We are allowed to, on the weekends, operate until 1 o’clock in the morning, so there is evening and weekend potential for bachelorette parties,” Jacobs says. “We are also reaching out to local wedding venues—to say, ‘If you have a bridal party that is too large to fit in your suite, send them here to get ready beforehand.’”


The Crawford in Naperville by Abbott Hospitality
The Crawford in Naperville by Abbott Hospitality is closely modeled after one of the company’s other venues, The Monroe in Des Moines (pictured here).

2. The Crawford

119 Shuman Blvd., Naperville

Today’s suburban couples shopping for a wedding venue often have to contend with competing priorities: They’re coveting the modern look of a Chicago locale but don’t want their guests to have the hassle of driving downtown. A newcomer on the Naperville wedding scene, The Crawford, offers the creature comforts suburbanites have come to expect (hello, spacious parking lot) with the ambience and grandeur of a big-city event space.

The Crawford is on Naperville’s north side. “It sits within a three-minute drive to multiple hotels,” says Oliver Chan, sales manager. “It’s very close to a major expressway [I-88], which is a big benefit when doing an event, but it’s on a very quiet street in a private area, so it feels secluded.”

A decorated altar at The Crawford

The building was last occupied by Noah’s Event Venue, which closed in 2020. Abbott Hospitality—a Kansas City, Missouri–based operator of event venues and hotels—came in and gave the space an impressive modern makeover throughout. The Crawford hosted its first events in late 2023 and celebrated its grand opening in March. The interior closely resembles three of Abbott Hospitality’s other venues: The Monroe in Des Moines; The Winslet in Wichita; and The Audrey in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania.

“We have multiple rooms, and each room is presenting a different look, and it provides a lot of different photo opportunities in one venue,” Chan says. The largest space is an elegant all-white ballroom that can fit up to 250 seated guests. “We have seen a lot of couples wanting to put their head table on our stage that goes up and down in the ballroom, so that’s been a popular request to help literally elevate them, and they can be looking out at all of their guests. The ballroom also has some very cool ceiling lights that are actually motorized, so we have the ability to drop them down and create different looks. You can even hang decor from them, so that allows for some customization in how people decorate the room.”

Newlyweds posing by a pool table

There’s a ceremony room with a pair of massive modern chandeliers and sleek wooden ceiling beams, a bar, a bridal suite, and a billiards room with paneled walls in a moody shade of slate blue. “We also have an outdoor patio that has a lot of versatility, whether we’re doing a ceremony out there or using it for a cocktail hour,” Chan says. “We can create different experiences, like making one room a photo booth room where people can come have drinks and participate in an activity that’s being featured. You have a lot of options to really customize the flow of what makes the most sense for your event.”

Rental costs start with a venue fee that’s based on the date, and from there you can add a drink package and other upgrades such as signature cocktails or mocktails, projector screens, and mobile bars. “We have an open vendor policy, so we allow whoever is booking to bring in their own catering, and we provide a very spacious prep kitchen for the catering company,” Chan says. “Our venue isn’t just for weddings—it can really fit so many different events. We are getting requests for bridal showers, birthday parties, corporate events, fundraisers, different types of luncheons—it really is across the board.”


Lena Rose’s clean-beauty products
Lena Rose’s clean-beauty products prove green can be glam.

3. Lena Rose Beauty

14 Jackson Ave., Naperville

You’ve heard of farm-to-table cuisine. How about farm-to-table spa services? That’s what owner Jenny Duranski and her team at Lena Rose Beauty have been serving up since September in downtown Naperville.

Jenny Duranski, owner of Lena Rose Beauty
Jenny Duranski, owner of Lena Rose Beauty

Lena Rose offers nature-inspired, holistically minded beauty services, including manicures, pedicures, facials, and body treatments—many of which make use of the spa’s own house line of scrubs, butters, oils, and soaks, all made by hand with herbs and flowers grown on farms in Chicago Heights and St. Anne, Illinois.

The Naperville native opened her first location of Lena Rose Beauty in Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood in 2016 and has long since eyed her hometown for a second shop.

Sustainability is a core value at both locations. “The beauty industry is the third-largest contributor to landfill waste, and as commercial providers, we are generating a lot of waste every single day,” Duranski says. “All the gloves, all the single-use items we need to offer healthy, sanitized service can be very wasteful.” She sources biodegradable products when possible, has a composting program, and partners with TerraCycle to recycle single-use gloves. “There is very little that we send to our trash can, and that’s the goal.”

The shelves in the spa’s retail area are stocked with products from women-owned brands that align with her values. “Our buying decisions are very intentional and strategic,” Duranski says. “ ‘People, planet, profit’ is the triple bottom line that we are thinking about.”

Inside Lena Rose Beauty

Lena Rose Beauty also has broken from the industry standard with a no-tipping policy. “I do that on purpose so we can create sustainable wages and a career path where [my employees] earn a high hourly rate and they are still making money even when they don’t have an appointment,” she says. “They are also given paid time off, sick time, vacation, and continuing education. We have six days a year for professional development. I really hope to be able to continue to do this because the industry needs to be shown it can be done.”

Duranski’s path to focus on clean beauty at Lena Rose was a personal one. “I really kind of fell into the beauty industry,” she says. “I got my nail tech license when I was 19 and started working and going to school at the same time.” While working in Chicago salons, she started having health issues that prompted her to more closely examine the products she was working with. “I was developing these allergies and just not feeling great from doing nails for a full day, and it took me a little while to piece together that the fumes and ingredients I was being exposed to could be why I wasn’t feeling so good,” she says. “I knew I couldn’t stay in the conventional world of nails with the traditional ingredients. I really threw myself into wanting to understand more how to make it cleaner and greener.”

It’s not all crunchy granola, though. “Green can still be glam,” Duranski says. The spa offers eyelash and brow tints with henna and nail extensions with Apres Gel-X, a soft gel technology without the fumes and dust of conventional acrylics. “Yes, we are deeply rooted in organic and green services, but our name is Lena Rose Beauty for a reason. We are following trends, but it doesn’t have to be bad for you. You can still get glamorous results with less harmful ingredients—and have it be a more caring, conscious experience.”


Tricoci Salon & Spa

4. Tricoci Salon & Spa

1512 N. Naper Blvd., Naperville

Hair stylist Mario Tricoci opened his first salon in Schaumburg in 1977, and as he built up his Chicago-area empire, Naperville got its first Tricoci Salon & Spa back in 1998. It has since remained a go-to for everything from haircuts and color to massages—but after 25 years in business, the space was in need of a makeover.

“We needed more than an aesthetic upgrade; we really needed to modernize the business strategy at the same time,” says Kristen Chase, chief marketing officer at Tricoci, which has 12 other locations. “From back when we started to now, the life of the modern woman and man has changed a lot. People do not have the luxury of time like they used to. It’s one of our most valuable resources, and that’s one of the things we kept in mind for the client that comes through our doors, whether they have the entire day to spend with us or whether they have 30 minutes.”

A client receiving a beauty service

To meet that need, the company added The Beauty Studio at Tricoci, a no-appointment-necessary station within the salon offering a menu of 15-minute services. For $25, you can get a face-sculpting treatment with a NuFace microcurrent device; for $50, you can try a LED therapy session to help smooth fine lines or the Hydrofacial Lip Perk treatment to hydrate, exfoliate, and plump your lips before a big night out. There are even some options, such as a skin care consultation or makeup touch-up, that cost nothing at all.

The entire salon and spa has undergone a renovation, revealed to the public at a grand reopening in February. “Our client experience experts, they are not behind desks anymore; their stations are out in the open, and they’re mobile, almost more like a beauty concierge,” Chase explains. The spa services menu has been streamlined, and the retail area has doubled in size, with space for new additions such as at-home chemical peels from Dr. Dennis Gross and cult-favorite hair care line Oribe.

The waiting area at Tricoci Salon & Spa

Renovations began in October 2023, and the salon and spa stayed open throughout the process, with the construction crew working overnight after business hours. “We got really creative in terms of how we could still be in there [during renovations], because it was our busiest time of year and we couldn’t stop,” Chase says. “Our clients were really patient and understanding of all the tarps up.”

Tricoci hair stylist Tracie Walas, who has worked at the Naperville location for 10 years, has loved watching her clients witness the transformation. “They walk in the door, and it looks like a new salon,” she says. “The chairs at our stations—people have said are way more comfortable, and our new shampoo bowls have these padded neck rests that everyone loves. Everything just has a more elevated, modern look.”

Stations at Tricoci Salon & Spa

It even smells different—and that’s because Tricoci commissioned a fragrance company to create a new signature scent. “Every spa smells like eucalyptus and lemongrass,” Chase says. “We wanted it to be unexpected, modern, and comforting, and unisex—we wanted it to speak to everyone.” The final result has citrus and cedarwood notes with subtle floral undertones. “It’s called Golden Amalfi. It’s a nod to Mario Tricoci’s heritage—coming to the U.S. from Italy and living out the American dream.”


Brides posing by a table lavishly decorated with flowers at Studio 28

5. Studio 28

7 S. Stolp Ave., Aurora

When Aurora photographer Jermaine Horton isn’t photographing weddings in all corners of the Chicago area, he’s masterminding elaborate photo shoots for his clients. And about two years ago, he was coming to terms with the fact that his studio space just wasn’t cutting it. “The ceilings weren’t high enough for me to do the creative things I wanted to do,” he says. When he toured the 4,500-square-foot second floor of Leland Tower—a historic hotel-turned-apartment building on Stolp Island in downtown Aurora—he knew it would be just the right upgrade for his photography business.

Not long after, Horton realized many of the things he loved about the space—15-foot-tall ceilings, massive windows facing the Fox River, and a unique two-sided layout separated by a mezzanine—would also make it a great space to host events. Now called Studio 28, the space is available to rent for micro-weddings and other intimate events for 25 to 75 people starting at $300 an hour.

Paneled white columns and marble floors with pink square insets lend a touch of old Hollywood glamour, but the space is truly a blank canvas. High-top tables and six-foot tables are available onsite, and Naperville-based Satin Chair is the preferred vendor for specialty seating and other decor.

The first event hosted at Studio 28 was an East Aurora High School alumni reunion in November 2022, and local makeup artists and wedding planners have since rented the space to host workshops. “The best part is we have Altiro Latin Fusion downstairs as one of our caterers,” Horton says. “Roberto [Avila] is their head chef and he can make Latin food or American food, and it’s so good.”


Photos: Ross Feighery (The Babe Bodega, Lena Rose Beauty, retail areas at Tricoci Salon & Spa); The Bold Americana (The Monroe); Tricoci Salon & Spa (waiting area and salon station); Jermaine Horton Photography (Studio 28)