Not Your Average Gift Shop Opens in Hovland This Weekend

Bob and Shel Busch are opening a unique gift store, Objects to Crave, on July 1 in the small village of Hovland at the northwest corner of Hammer Road and US Highway 61. 

The Busch family has been part of the Hovland community for three generations. Home for Bob and Shel is near the Twin Cities, but they’ve owned a house near the new store for more than 22 years. Shel says that her three, now adult children were virtually raised in Hovland. Bob still works for Honeywell but is looking to retire in the next few years and make Hovland his retirement home. “We love this area,” he said. 

The building was built in 1965 and has housed several different businesses including The Chicago Bay Cafe in the 1970s and Runningen’s Furs and Bear Camp in recent years.

Shel’s grandparents Darold and Janet Larson operated an antiques and gift shop in the same building in the 1980s called Treasure Cove . 

Objects to Crave is part museum, part antique shop, and part traditional gift shop. It is a perfect business for Hovland, an area beloved in Cook County for its eccentric and eclectic residents. “We like weird and different,” Shel said. 

Shel said the store will be selling, “Vintage, nature based, and historical items.” She promises some curiosities as well. 

Shel often thought about her grandparents' shop and dreamed of the day when they might be able to acquire the old store and operate a similar business. That opportunity came in January of this year and the Buschs jumped at the chance.

The building needed extensive renovation and the work has been a total family affair according to Bob. 

The family has a photo of Darold and Janet standing on the porch in front of the store from the 1980s.

Before that old porch was removed, Shel’s mother had the two of them recreate that picture. Bob said that without thinking about how to stand, he and Shel look the same pose as the Olsons, right down his hand on the railing. The two pictures are posted on the store’s Facebook page.

Shel’s father made the sign that will be at the front of the store.

In the process of renovating the interior the Buschs found numerous treasures including a time capsule of sorts left in a wall in 1974 by Fritz Sobanja, a local carpenter and artist who was part owner of the Chicago Bay Cafe almost 50 years ago. On its Facebook page there is a picture and list of the items recovered including a piece of board showing 1974 and Fritz’s name  carved into it. This, along with old coins and other treasures. All will be on display, and some will be for sale in the store.

“As a child I was always fascinated about the people and things happening in Hovland,” Shel said. “There are so many wonderful stories and we’ve scoured for pictures and knowledge of this building and Hovland.”

The opening is scheduled for July 1 to coincide with the annual Hovland Arts Festival. Bob and Shel say that the store will be open from Spring through Fall on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. They have a website under construction at and they can be found on Facebook.