How and when did you decide to open Vintique Alley?
“It was a dream really, I was born and raised in Riverside and I was a stay-at-home mom for 22 years. I was raising my twin daughters and my son. My girls were in 10th grade and they were very proud when I finally decided to follow the dream. I was always helping other business owners put together their displays when they were opening their stores. Then, I started by having pop-ups at my house twice a year. I would collect things here and there and sell them and I would take that money and save for vacations. Then I started to put the money toward my kids’ Christian education. They attended Arrowhead Christian Academy and Harvest. Now, I get to do it mainly because I love it and I love the community that was created there.”
How many people do you employ?
“It’s just me! It’s a very unique situation. The store runs on volunteers. One of them, who’s also one of our vendors, volunteers for a few hours in the shop. Then, there’s a friend who’s a senior citizen who comes in every day to help. There’s also a mother-daughter team that comes in and volunteers their time. I’m very appreciative of them. Then there’s Greg. He does a lot of stuff for us. He has been with me for eight years, painting when I need it, fixing furniture, etc. None of them will take a payment. Some of them have said giving their time this way gives them purpose. So I’ll take them out to lunch or dinner instead!”
Do you have regular clientele or do you get to see new faces mostly?
“We have a regular, base clientele. They’re very loyal to the store. We have had a lot of new faces come in lately though.”
Do you sell online as well?
“Oh no, there’s no way I could do that. It’s just a lot to manage and track at this point.”
Where do you find your pieces?
“I interview vendors that I meet or who introduce themselves to me. I have eight vendors that have been with me since I opened my store!”
What is the one thing you wish everyone knew about Vintique Alley?
“That I want them to feel comfortable, at home and peaceful in the store. Those are the things people tell me they feel anyways. There’s a sense of community and family when they come in. Our goal is to make people feel welcome. No matter your background or where you come from, you’re accepted here.”
If you weren’t doing this, what else would you want to do?
“The usual at this season of our life, to travel! Or to spend time with loved ones and to shop at other vintage places to experience the other side of the business.”
What are your favorite pieces to sell or that you have in the store?
“I love the hand-crafted wares along with the rare, high-quality eye-catchers. Like, family heirlooms that show the love of many years of ownership pride. They do not have to be flawless, just experienced.”
What do you think is the best part about owning and running Vintique alley?
“My connections with the customers and the pleasures that they express while reminiscing with me in the store. Also the interaction I see between customers, like they are old friends.”
What’s your favorite part about Riverside?
“The people, hands down. The ones I know who were also born and raised here and then those who weren’t. It’s the sense of community we all have.”