August 20, 2008

Shop Celebrates Brazil

By Kim Mikus

A Libertyville woman is bringing a piece of Brazil to Long Grove.

Casa Brasil, at 249 Robert Parker Coffin Road, has everything from handcrafted jewelry to environmentally sensitive hair and skin products to specialty foods and coffees.

Christine Isolda Furbino, born and raised in Brazil, hand picks the products and buys much of the merchandise directly from Brazilian artisans.

The entrepreneur carries an array of jewelry with semi-precious stones, crystals and other gems. The primary artist she utilizes is from Minas Gerais, Brazil. Accessories, jewelry and headbands made with golden grass have been big sellers, Furbino said.

Sandals, including the Dupe-Havainas flip-flops seen on the Oprah show, have also been a draw for the new store.

The quaint shop also stocks two Brazilian brands of hair care products popular in Europe and designed to be easier on women's hair. They include Amazonia Nutrients and Amazonutry and range in price from $6 to $20.

Fine perfumes, oils, body lotions by O Boticario are also featured at the shop.

Home decor made from banana tree fibers and unusual lamp shades and table lights have also been popular.

Shoppers will find chocolate Easter eggs from Brazil that come in 10 flavors from dark and white chocolate to hazelnut and Brazilian nut. Frozen cheese bread, coffees, teas and frozen drinks are also featured. Nova Acai high energy fruit, Guarana soft drinks and tropical juices can also be found at the shop. A variety of jellies, including mango, Brazilian berry and red pepper jelly, are other highlights.

"I try to carry the best brands of everything," Furbino said.

Furbino, 41, immigrated from Brazil in 1996 when her husband, Andre, enrolled at the University of Illinois in Champaign to obtain a master's degree in technology. He now works for Baxter.

Furbino, who has a background in hospitality management, and Andre are raising two children, Sophia, 8, and Eloisa, 7.

A bright section of the store features children's books and toys.

"It's a fun store," the owner said.

The shop is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday and Monday. For more information, call (847) 793-0013 or check out

Top gun: Tom Meyers, head mechanic at Hawkeye Automotive in Lake Zurich, recently took top honors in a prestigious industry competition.

Meyers, a resident of McHenry, was honored in the Top Gun Competition sponsored by Bumper to Bumper, a national association in the auto repair industry.

About 75 people competed in the competition, which is conducted similar to a Jeopardy game.

Meyers has been working at Hawkeye since it opened about 12 years ago at 909 S. Rand Road. Owner Vic Pfammatter said he has been working with Meyers for about 20 years.

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