Aunt Hattie’s Fanciful Emporium was founded in 2009 in the heart of the historic downtown area of LeClaire, Iowa. Donna Walley, the owner, wanted to create a place where women could bring their friends to shop, laugh and find unique items most other stores don’t carry. She also convinced her husband, Wayne, to part with some of his extensive collection of vintage beer signs and barware, so that “guys would have something to look at in the store.”
The combination of humorous magnets and greeting cards, reproduction tin signs, pop culture items, vintage collectibles, newer collector items, retro candy and toys, the “naughty box” for adults, “gum with attitude” and “guy stuff” struck a nerve with shoppers as Aunt Hattie’s Fanciful Emporium was voted the “Best Gift Shop” in the Quad Cities in the Quad City Times Reader’s Poll in 2012 and 2013. “It’s enjoyable to have people come into the shop and laugh.
We also make it a point to greet everyone who enters the store and thank them for coming in because all of our customers are important to us. We want them to have a good time and come back and see us. It’s also interesting to see the reaction of men, who sometimes want to stay in the shop when their female companions are ready to leave,” Donna says, who is instantly recognizable wearing her signature vintage cat’s eye glasses.
The shop moved three doors south from its original location in May 2013, more than tripling the space for shoppers and unique inventory. Nearly half the store now is devoted to collectibles and “guy stuff,” including one of the largest displays of beer signs and barware for sale in the Quad Cities area.
The shop is open almost every day, closing only on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day, when there is bad weather or for unforeseen emergencies. “If people drive all the way to visit LeClaire, we want to be open and available to provide a unique shopping experience so that they can enjoy the type of hospitality LeClaire has to offer,” Donna says. Aunt Hattie’s Fanciful Emporium is located at 102 South Cody Road in historic downtown LeClaire, Iowa.
Aunt Hattie's owner, Donna Walley
Wayne and Donna Walley