In August of 2020, 5-months into the pandemic when we were sheltering at home wondering when life would return to normal, Barrington’s Grace Ransom found her own way to lift the local business community. A professional actress, local employee, BHS alum and lifelong Barrington resident, Grace started a YouTube video series called Grace on Main, featuring interviews with local business owners struggling during the depths of the Covid crisis.
For a new 365Barrington series called Main Street Monday, we’re going to be highlighting Grace’s videos in an effort to get to know the business owners and employees she’s taken the time to interview. We’re starting today with Grace’s video featuring Tara from Marvin’s Toy Store, located between Francescas Restaurant and Ice Cream Social at 100 East Station Street, Suite 155 in Barrington.
In addition to introducing you to Tara and Marvin’s Toys, we thought you might enjoy getting better acquainted with the host of Grace on Main, Grace Ransom. Grace is the inspiration behind the name of one of Barrington’s most beloved little shops, Main Street children’s boutique, Amazing Gracie’s! Named after Grace by her mom and the shop’s owner, Kelly, Amazing Gracie’s is where Grace first fell in love with all things local business.
365: How long have you lived in Barrington? What schools did you attend and what were your favorite extra-curricular activities?
Grace Ransom: I have lived in Barrington my whole life up until now I just bought my first house in Cary, IL last year. From Kindergarten to 2nd grade I went to Grove Ave then we moved to Lake Barrington and I went to Roslyn Rd from 3rd grade to 5th grade. I did all my years of middle school at Station and then I went to Barrington High school where I was in the class of 2018 but I graduated a semester early in December of 2017. I did most of my extracurriculars outside of school. I was a dancer for many years at Denise Sabala Dance Studios 2003-2015 and then I started my Acting career 2013-now. I also played many instruments and sang. I did all my lessons at consolidated music. Of course my favorite activity was helping my mom at the shop! Amazing Gracies 😉 ! haha
365: Will you share a little about the work you do in Barrington, for whom? What do you love about your jobs here in town?
Grace Ransom: I have been working at my mom’s store since I could talk and swipe a credit card. Haha. Working for my mom has taught me the love I have for small towns and small businesses. It has shown me how the love of a community holds so much power! I started working at Shakou Barrington in 2019 and it has become my 2nd home. I absolutely love the restaurant industry! Everyday it is new and exciting! I also work at G&G here and there throughout the week! Tune in to G&G’s Instagram page Wednesdays for our What To Wear live feeds on instagram!
365: Will you share a little about your professional life outside of Barrington?
Grace Ransom: I am an Actress for TV and film. I have been pursuing acting since the 7th grade. I am represented by two amazing companies in the Chicagoland area.
365: What do you love about the Barrington community?
Grace Ransom: During this last year I was really able to see how much good our community really holds. When a business is suffering, the support that goes into that one place is incredible. I love how passionate the town is about education for the kids in our town. I love how everyone knows each other and welcomes anyone new to town. At the places where I work we welcome them in with socially distanced open arms and want to tell them how amazing our little town is and all the great places to eat or shop in Barrington.
365: When did you get the idea for Grace on Main and how would you describe your goals with the video series?
Grace Ransom: Working with my mom from a very young age I was able to see how much love and effort a store owner pours into their small business and how no one can do it like the owner themselves. Most small businesses have the owners working most days. They’re people who had the vision to create something amazing and did. With Grace on Main I want the community to meet the people that make Barrington amazing and full of light. Since no one was able to go out during the pandemic, I thought maybe I would bring a little piece of each store to them in their living rooms and then it would spark the thought of going online or doing a call-in order to shop! Growing up in this amazing little town I wanted a way to give back and to make sure that our little town lives on forever! My total goal would be traveling to other small towns and doing interviews with all their small business. Since I am an actress, if this whole idea was able to turn into a show for television, that would be amazing. The amount of love an owner pours into their small business is amazing and I want people to see that.
What do you hope to accomplish for the Barrington community and the businesses you feature?
Grace Ransom: I would want each person to watch my videos and meet these little shops and then remember them the next time they need a gift or want a night out. So they start with their small town and see all it has to offer.
Why do you think that’s important?
Grace Ransom: I think it’s very important to support the small business because if we don’t our small towns won’t have anything in them. These businesses are what make our little towns colorful and full of life!
What can we do to help?
Grace Ransom: I think the main thing is just Support Small. Whenever you can eat small, shop small, do small!
What are your favorite things to do or places to go in Barrington?
Grace Ransom: As crazy as it sounds, I spent most of my time working in Barrington, but that is how i like it! I get to meet people all day all and talk to them about our community and learn about them and continue to build relationships with our local community!
My Favorite shops in Barrington are quite literally all of them! (Haha) My go-to restaurant is Shakou! I try to shop local as much as I can wither it G&G, ONE Girl, Angliana or Little Leaf any time I need flowers! The Catlow will always have a special place in my heart!
Any favorite role models or favorite words to live by? From whom and why?
Grace Ransom: My role model in life is my Mom. I think she is the strongest and most creative woman I know. The way she started her store and now, 25 years later, is still doing what she loves. That is something to look up to! My mom has done so much in her life and has completed so many different life paths. When I get stressed about my future and how maybe I am not doing it right or doing enough or doing things fast enough. A quote she always says i, “Life is actually so long, Grace. Do whatever you want and then when you want to do something else go do that.”
*Grace Ransom featured photo above plus photos below by Linda Barrett
Grace Ransom hosts and produces Grace on Main, a YouTube video series where she celebrates Barrington area businesses by interviewing the owners who bring them to life, day after day. We’ll be featuring Grace on Main right here at 365Barrington on our Main Street Mondays in the months ahead. In the meantime, CLICK HERE to watch all the latest Grace on Main videos.
*Grace Ransom photo below by Jillian Fine Art Photography