After 26 years in the retail business, Janet Smith-Peterson, has found a new home for her store with a focus on jewelry.
Readers might remember her downtown Naperville shop Hozhoni Gallery, where she sold her artistic finds from her journeys through Native American lands.
After more then a year long sabbatical, she re-opened her storefront in Downers Grove, now called Sundance Gallery.
"I opened my gallery in St Charles first," Smith-Peterson said. The year was 1984. I moved it to Naperville in 1996 where I operated until
May 2009. I re-opened in Downers Grove on Oct.1,2010. That makes 26 years of doing what I love.
Here, Smith-Peterson shares her story about her personal and business life and how both have impacted her relocation from Naperville to Downers Grove.
1. Why did you move your store to Downers Grove?
"I closed my gallery in May'09 because my elderly mother became very ill. My husband and I decided that taking care of her was our priority, so I stored my display cases and created an online business with the intention of re-opening when the time was right. we lost my mother last winter, and in the spring, started looking for a new gallery space. My first location choice was Naperville, my gallery home for 13 years, and I spent time with Kathy Wood looking for the right spot. Unfortunately when I was ready, there were no suitable space available, so I began to search in other communities. Downers Grove offered exactly what I wanted, a small-town atmosphere with upscale independent shops, reasonable rents and a strong 'buy local'philosophy."
2. Do you offer the same products you offered here?
"Yes and no. My focus has always been Native American art and jewelry, and while that is still the focus of the gallery, we have increased the offerings to include classic and contemporary handcrafted jewelry by other American artists as well."
3. What is the most unique item you sell in your store?
"That is the beauty of what I do! EVERYTHING is unique most one of a kind. Certainly some of the pieces require an extremely high level of artistic skill and stand out as remarkable, but everything in the gallery is handcrafted and imbued with the spirit of every artist. If I must pick something, then I would say the brightly colored inlay stone work of Ray Tracey from the Navajo nation."
4. What about the name Hozhoni Gallery?
"I still own the rights and the Web address so who knows maybe a Hozhoni Gallery again someday. I decided that this new chapter deserved its own name. The Sundance is a Native American ceremony that is a prayer for peace, harmony and deep blessings for all people of the world. I thought that was a perfect sentiment for our times."
5. Do you offer other items?
"Primarily jewelry but I still carry pottery, sculpture, Zuni fetishes and Pendleton blankets. The gallery will evolve as I receive feedback from customers.
I love being back behind the counter! It is a passion for me more than a profession. Naperville was so good to me, and (I)really miss being downtown. I hope everyone comes to visit me in Downers Grove!