Vintage Garage hosts last show of the year, offers items from 75 vendors for vintage enthusiasts


Natalie Chun/The Daily Northwestern

Vintage Garage moved to Evanston three years ago and hosts four shows a year. Vendors pay for parking spaces in the parking garage at 1800 Maple Ave. where they set up their shops and talk to customers.

Kristen Axtman, Reporter

On the fifth floor of a parking garage, 75 vintage vendors sold furniture, jewelry, art, clothing and smaller trinkets to hundreds of customers on Sunday. 

The show was Vintage Garage’s fourth and final event of 2022. Hosted at 1800 Maple Ave., Vintage Garage hosts a show in May, July, September and October each year.

Customers pay a $6 entry fee to shop for vintage items from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Husband-and-wife pair Jim and Melissa Sands produce the vintage show. According to Vintage Garage’s website, Jim collected comics growing up, and the duo sold the collection to put a down payment on their first house. From there, they started collecting and selling vintage items on Ebay and eventually started organizing vintage shows.

October’s show featured their regular collection of vintage items, with extra accents of holiday-themed goods, Sands said. Vendors sold Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah vintage items. 

The Sands moved the show from the Uptown neighborhood in Chicago to Evanston three years ago. Sands said he enjoys hosting the market in Evanston much more, and his enthusiasm grows with each show. 

After the pandemic hampered turn-out, Sands said the flea market is gaining its momentum back.

“Every single show is better than the last,” he said. “We had a lot of momentum and then when COVID hit, it wiped it all out.”

Savanna Schulatz, founder of vintage furniture company Salvage Made Design, has been a vendor at Vintage Garage for the past few years. 

Schulatz and her mom sell furniture they find and refurbish, even rescuing some items from the trash. Schulatz discovered her passion for vintage items when her mom and aunt would bring her to estate sales as a child. 

The pandemic caused customers at large to shop “with a purpose,” rather than simply for their enjoyment, Schulatz said. She’s noticed less of a buzz around the event, since people were hesitant to be around others.

“This time I would say there’s a lot more people,” Schulatz said. “They are shopping sort of like  ‘Oh, I just want to shop because it’s nice to get out and do something.’”

She said it was nice to see the show restored to its former glory. 

Meghan Cummings, a vintage clothes and accessories vendor, started coming to Vintage Garage this summer. As a “vintage enthusiast,” Cummings said she visits thrift stores frequently.

“It’s really fun to just be able to spice up any outfit…with vintage pieces that are really unique and fun,” she said.

Vendors pay $125 for a stall spot the size of one parking spot and $195 for the size of two. They do not need to have an official business to sell at Vintage Garage, which makes the sale larger and more accessible than most. 

Bienen sophomore Lucy Rubinstein heard about the event through Instagram and decided to visit Sunday. Rubenstein was surprised by the amount of vendors and variety of items offered at the flea market.

She found the pricing to be reasonable, especially compared to other vintage markets in Chicago that charge more for their curated second-hand items. The market offered high quality items with more affordable prices, Rubenstein said.

“Thrifting is really hard in Evanston,”  she said. “It’s just so fun to have everything in one space.”

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @KristenAxtman1

Related Stories:

New vintage shopping event comes to Evanston

Evanston pop-up shop Swantiques features vintage and antique furnishings

 Student-run apparel shop Wildcat Vintage opens for business