Meet Francie Skoflanc from A Mess Of Things and CatsEye Downtown Ottawa, IL

A mess of things and CatsEye logos

Finding something one-of-a-kind isn’t hard when shopping down the Heritage Corridor. Our Antique and Boutique shops really know how to create notable items that you can’t find anywhere else, making them special.

In Downtown Ottawa, A Mess Of Things is no stranger to unique gifts and treasures. In this shop you will find vintage, shabby, chic, repurposed, recycled, home décor, clothing, accessories, and more.

a picture of Francie from A mess of things and CatsEye

The co-owner Francie Skoflanc had the idea of opening her own shop while working a previous job as a graphic arts instructor and program director. “I started to create a lot of art and items I felt would be sellable in markets around the area. From there I was asked to join a business in Ottawa and help create an indoor home and garden market,” Francie says.

Francie is joined by her husband Mike Skoflanc as co-owners of A Mess Of Things and CatsEye Wine Bar, which is right next door. CatsEye is an eclectic wine bar with an urban vintage charm and a relaxed neighborhood atmosphere. Francie focuses more with A Mess Of Things, while her husband and son runs CatsEye.

four wine glasses in a flight at CatsEye wine bar

Francie felt like Downtown Ottawa was perfect for their businesses because of how vibrant it was to her, and how much variety was around them. Also, it helps being minutes from Starved Rock State Park, giving them a lot of tourist in the area.

There are many joys of owning your own business. Francie expresses that she loves being able to find unique items and meeting new customers. “I also enjoy the many challenges that a small business has.”

While shopping with her, she wants her customers to have fun with it, and feel nostalgic with certain items that they sell. “I want them to take in the sights, sounds, and smells of our store,” she says. “Often people say to us, ‘I love your store and stop in every time I’m in town.’ Or, ‘You have the best shop!’”

There are many other women-owned businesses in the Ottawa area, and Francie says she feels honored to be in this group of creative and determined business women.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, they have had to adjust to their new norm. Being affected as a smaller business, they had to figure out ways to keep their shops running. “We did offer curbside service and still do if a customer requests it. We worked very hard to apply and receive any and all grants and loans that were out there to help us with utilities, inventory, etc.”

a rack of clothes from a mess of things   green, purple, and blue crystal styled rings on a hand

Shopping at A Mess Of Things is truly a fun experience and like no other place in the area. Francie says she feels as though she brings a very unique shop with a variety of items at great prices. “We also are an incubator of sorts because we offer vendor space. This way, someone can get their feet wet before they choose to go into their own brick and mortar store.”

For the future of their businesses, once the pandemic is over, she would like to travel more to shows and markets to continue bringing unique items to the store.

Businesses like these are what make smaller towns so special to us. Giving back to the community, as well as spreading uniqueness to the area.

To learn more about A Mess Of Things visit,

And to learn more about CatsEye visit, 

make up bag, boho bandeau, and a car air freshener    Indian Creek CBD oil

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