Want to travel back in time? Hit a cluster of vintage stores on seven blocks in Minneapolis. There you’ll find furnishings and home decor spanning the 1940s to the 1980s — from Danish modern teak buffets to Pyrex casseroles. The area took off in 2014 after the city designated Minnehaha Avenue S., from E. Lake Street to Minnehaha Falls, as the Minnehaha Mile, a destination for resale businesses.
“People who shop vintage want multiple places to go,” said Toni Johnson, owner of Turquoise Vintage.
Here’s a snapshot of each store — and what you’ll find:
3911 Minnehaha Av. S. • 612-702-5355 • es-emporium.com
Shop owner: Ella Ritzman’s occasional-sale store in an early 1900s house is open the first and third weekend each month.
Merch mix: It’s back to the 1970s with macramé plant holders and hanging tables in every nook and cranny. Other goods date from the 1950s to 1980s, including “brass and glass” table lamps, Capiz shell swag lights, dark wood candleholders, hippie bead curtains and corduroy butterscotch and orange pillows. Millennials get a kick out of dial and push-button phones and typewriters, she said. “They also love the 1980s supersized glasses frames.”
Vibe: A baby boomer’s bygone living room.
Fabulous finds: Mersman bamboo and glass coffee table ($60), 1980s teal and dusty rose loveseat ($145), 1970s grasscloth push-button phone ($15).
Why is vintage decor hot? “Things were better made and have soul,” Ritzman said. “You’re buying something unique — not mass-produced at Ikea.”
Junket: Tossed & Found
4049 Minnehaha Av. S. • 612-293-6863 • shopjunket.com
Shop owner: Julie Kearns’ mission is to encourage and educate people about re-use and keeping tossed stuff out of landfills. “Why should anyone buy new paper clips?” she asked, pointing to a huge bin of used ones. “I want to make it easy to do the right thing.”
Merch mix: Secondhand goods and creative supply for artists and crafters. There’s a bin of “creepy dolls,” doorknobs, tablecloths, vintage dresses and jewelry. Home goods include swag lights, hand mixers and dishware.
Fabulous finds: Retro aluminum cake carrier ($16), chrome and vinyl kitchen chair ($24), vintage wire baskets ($10).
Vibe: Eco-smart (and feeling good about it).
Why is vintage decor hot? “Younger generations are more focused on environmental responsibility and want alternatives to buying new,” Kearns said.
Time Bomb Vintage
4008 Minnehaha Av. S. • 612-724-2662 • timebombvintage.com
Shop owner: Dallas Poague started the Retro Collective of vendors who create their own themed vignettes.
Merch mix: Remember Quisp cereal? There are shelves of retro food packaging, pop culture advertising, character-based toys like the Flintstones, metal lunchboxes celebrating old TV shows, and Fresca and Insty-Prints wall clocks. Midcentury modern fans will find a variety of Danish teak furnishings. Vintage vinyl records are $2 each.
Vibe: Retro kitsch.
Fabulous finds: Sunbeam Mixmaster ($40), “Charlie’s Angels” metal lunchbox ($24) and Hudson Bay wool blanket ($95).
Why is vintage decor hot? “People are sick of the same stuff from Target and want character and quality,” said vendor Kurt Fedi.
3869 Minnehaha Av. S. • 612-720-7272 • Facebook: Turquoise Vintage
Shop owner: Toni Johnson, known as the Pyrex Queen for her vast collection of the iconic casseroles and bowls from the 1930s to ’80s.
Merch mix: The 1950s to ’70s vintage, retro and kitsch reflects Johnson’s fondness for bold colors and geometric designs. Large assortment of lamps, alarm clocks and clock radios, glassware, planters, toys and board games. Try her copper-plated fondue set for your next party.
Vibe: Colorful retro funhouse.
Fabulous finds: Avocado-hued bread box ($22), set of “Crazy Daisy” Pyrex mixing bowls ($75) and World globes from school classrooms ($30).
Why is vintage decor hot? “The millennials love the unique look, and it can fit in any room,” Johnson said.
3721 Minnehaha Av. S. • 612-729-3110 • parisantiquesandgifts.com
Shop owner: Mary Anne Rivers, a passionate Francophile, opened the first vintage shop on the Mile 15 years ago. Her Victorian home was overflowing with all her finds, so she opened a resale business in a building she inherited after her husband died.
Merch mix: Despite the store name, Rivers doesn’t sell antiques from Paris, but rather French-themed artwork and home decor. Early-20th-century eras are represented with Art Deco clocks, Roseville pottery and a few antique pieces.
Fabulous finds: Wooden theater chair ($45) and 1960s Red Wing cup and saucer ($6). A large assortment of like-new embroidered linen tablecloths from the midcentury start at $9. “Young people actually use this stuff,” she said.
Vibe: The house of a grandma with eclectic taste.
Why is vintage decor hot? “It’s more unique than a department store,” Rivers said.
3458 Minnehaha Av. S. • 612-886-1614 • strangeboutiquestore.com
Shop owner: Paul Durham, a former antiques dealer, caught the bug when his grandmother took him shopping at thrift stores as a child.
Merch mix: Eclectic home accessories with “an unusual edge and straight-up oddities,” he said. They include fox, bobcat and grizzly bear skulls, Rogue Taxidermy pieces by Robert Marbury, ostrich eggs, an antique dental chair and a replica of a horse head constructed of leather.
Vibe: A quirky Museum of Natural History.
Fabulous finds: Fruit bat skull ($15), pair of midcentury modern wood arm chairs ($125), vintage Victrola converted into a liquor cabinet ($96).
Why is vintage decor hot? “In this digital age, people like connecting to an earlier time and feeling a sense of history,” Durham said.
Heroic Goods and Games
3456 Minnehaha Av. S. • 612-200-9354 • heroicgoodsandgames.com
Shop owner: Paul Zenisek is the new kid on the block, opening just a couple of weeks ago.
Merch mix: Cartridge video games played on Nintendo, Atari and Sega systems from the late 1970s and ’80s, vintage media such as “Star Wars” laser-disc movies, “Tip-It” and other old-school board games.
Fabulous finds: “Simpsons” figurines ($4), Donkey Kong cartridge video game ($14), NFL Strategy electric football game ($17).
Vibe: Gaming nerd’s basement.
Why are vintage games hot? “People get a warm nostalgic feeling from their youth,” Zenisek said.