Vintage Garage hosts Mother’s Day Season Opener, enters 11th year of shows


Kara Peeler/Daily Senior Staffer

Vintage Garage hosts its vintage show at 1800 Maple Ave.

Kara Peeler, Development and Recruitment Editor

Vintage Garage kicked off its 11th season vintage show Sunday, celebrating Mother’s Day with retro clothing, houseware, decor and more. 

More than 75 vendors set up shop while hundreds of customers streamed in and out of the fifth floor of the 1800 Maple Ave. parking garage. For a $6 admission fee, visitors could browse the vintage market from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

“It’s good for the community, and it’s a community of vendors that we’ve grown,” Vintage Garage owner Jim Sands said.  

Sands produces the vintage show each year with his wife, Melissa. The pair started by hosting the events in Uptown Chicago before they lost their lease. The Evanston Chamber of Commerce then reached out to the couple to see if they would be interested in holding the vintage show in an Evanston parking garage. The two said yes and have been hosting the event in Evanston for about four years. 

Jim Sands said the market fills a need in the local vintage market. 

Rita Falcon came to Vintage Garage on Sunday for the fourth time to sell some of her personal belongings, making the hour-long trek from Indiana to sell her “eclectic” assortment of goods –– ranging from stereo equipment to jewelry.   

“People are really anticipating this event,” Falcon said. “You really want to get in with those people who are just thirsty from last year.”

The vintage show’s planners and participants invest significant time in the project. Falcon woke up at 3:30 a.m. to get ready in time for the vintage show, and Jim Sands said he woke up at about 1 a.m. to prepare. 

The Mother’s Day festivities drew some guests to attend with their mothers in mind. 

Vintage Garage visitor Lydia Fernandez came with her siblings and mother, looking to celebrate the day. She said she enjoyed the different vendor options, purchasing a reversible Chicago Bulls jersey. Fernandez plans to return to one of the future shows, she said. 

Brendan Fallon of Tenure Chicago sold at the show this year for the first time but has attended as a visitor before. He said he noticed many mothers with their children — and even some patrons with both their mothers and their own children. 

Fallon also noted the environmental and economic impact of vintage shopping. 

“This really helps you to keep stuff out of landfills to bring something new life which I like,” Fallon said. “It’s a great, affordable way to get really beautiful things.”. 

Vendor Jura Avizienis said she’s noticed patterns in the groups of people who attend Vintage Garage shows. From Northwestern students to older adults, some people come to shop based on their values, she said. 

“People who might have a political commitment to buying and like the ring economy, making sure that the things get reused,” she said. “I think people are looking for good quality and more unique stuff.” 

Avizienis said there was an “almost constant” stream of traffic Sunday. 

Having sold at about eight to 10 shows with Vintage Garage, she’s come to love the community that attends the events.

“I love the people that come. It’s such an interesting crowd,” she said. “I particularly love how the totally unexpected buyers buy things and like, put them into a brand new context.” 

For Avizienis, vintage shopping and selling is like a “treasure hunt.” It can also be nostalgic as she remembers eras from her childhood that are trending now. 

This year, Vintage Garage will hold a total of four shows. The pop-up will return July 16, Sept. 17 and Oct. 15 — the season finale with a “holiday twist,” according to its website. 

“It’s a staple now,” returning vendor Nuria McNeal of DamenArt, said. “It’s a well-known and respected show.”

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Twitter: @karapeeler

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