It may be a mixed bag — with good news and bad news — for Highland Park, but Kari Guhl said it’s the right news for Sally’s Nuts.
The mother-daughter business is moving across town and out of the retail business, at least for now. Sally’s Nuts plans to leave 481 Roger Williams Ave. in the Ravinia business district by mid April and settle into a commercial location at 1480 Old Deerfield Road, said Guhl, who co-owns Sally’s Nuts with her mother Sally Schoch, of Wilmette.
“It’s bittersweet for sure,” Guhl said. “It was a clear decision but that didn’t make it any easier. Speaking from it emotionally, we all sit here sniffling a bit (because) we’re not going to see our regulars. It is the right thing to do but man have we made roots here.”
Guhl and Schoch brought Sally’s Nuts to a Highland Park storefront in 2021 after spending four years as an online company.
During the pandemic, Guhl wanted to get Sally’s Nuts out of a shared commercial kitchen, and they found an available storefront at 481 Williams Ave., the former home of Shelton’s Ravinia Grill, a Highland Park institution from the 1940s until the 1990s.
Shelton’s served diner classics — burgers, hot dogs, pot roast and more — to generations of local diners, from latchkey kids to parents looking for simple dinner out. It was even the setting for a scene from the 1983 film “Risky Business.”
Prior to Sally’s Nuts, the space was occupied by coffee shop and wine bar Hub and Spoke Provisions. It will soon need a new tenant, and Guhl, who sold Sally’s Nuts products as well as sandwiches and more from the space, hopes to help find one.
“We will do as much as we can possibly do,” Guhl said, adding the area needs a sandwich shop. “We feel obligated. Also, Shelton’s has such great lore to it. Everybody in the neighborhood has a story about Shelton’s. … It was a super iconic place.”
With Sally’s Nuts move across town, the business will return to its “true purpose” of wholesale, partnering with grocers and other retailers to sell Sally’s Nuts.
Guhl said that side of the business has continued to grow, and she needs more space to accommodate current and future growth. Currently, Guhl acts as the distributor, driving orders to stores across the area.
Schoch, who is going on 89 years old, continues to work multiple days per week, and Guhl said the change is not only the right move for the company but also for her mother, whose motto has become “just keep moving.”
“Realistically and emotionally, I couldn’t in good faith sign another (long-term) lease knowing in five years she would be 94,” Guhl said. “The business itself is going to continue to grow in the way she really wanted: to see her products on more grocery-store shelves.
“Having her have somewhere to go and something to do has really helped her stay with it and keep active.”
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