362 Commercial Street


The title tells the story. It is Essentials. And it is essential: a mini-general store and micro-grocery store that seems to have just about any needed little item that one forgot to get elsewhere, including a wide selection of plastic beads. (It is also not Utilities, so please don’t come in looking for a Thomas Paul melamine resin turtle platter.) The store was established in 1978 by the parents of Steven R. Katz, owner of Norma Glamp’s, at 212 Commercial, and Memories, at 169 Commercial. For a time, it did business next door, where Mad as a Hatter is now. The business was purchased in 1997 by Jill Vaughan, Deb Breedlove and Laura Lenza.

Vaughan picks up the story in her own words:

Deb is my girlfriend and we came on vacation here in 1996 and loved it. In 1997, we came to look into buying a B&B — you know how everyone thinks they want to do that. We bought a house that summer instead, then realized commuting to it from Chicago was kinda far. I asked Susan Davis (previous owner of Pat Shultz Realty) about businesses for sale and she said Essentials or Snack Attack. Since we could not see ourselves flipping burgers, we chose Essentials. Since I was keeping my real job, we needed a partner. So we walked a block down the street from our house where Laura, who was our friend, was working at Thornton’s Gas Station. She said yes, sight unseen, and that spring [1998] we opened!



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