While Melrose District staple Retro Ranch has fans that spread well beyond the downtown community, locals and tourists alike had to visit the store in person to see the ever-changing goods on hand. But now, despite its vintage status, Retro Ranch has launched a seemingly anachronistic online presence to make a name for itself in 2014.
At the beginning of the year, the store launched an Instagram account to attract the social-media savvy crowd with curated visuals. The store has also recently launched an Etsy shop, bringing online shopping to those who are searching near and far for the best from Phoenix’s past.
Formerly called Retro Redux, Indigo Hunter acquired the store in 2009 when the previous owner retired. In addition to a slight name change, a few other updates have slowly made their way through the densely-packed aisles.
Michelle Eichenberger, a member of the Retro Ranch team, has helped bring a modern perspective to the vintage market.
“There’s no way to keep up with a business anymore if you don’t [use social media],” Eichenberger said. “That’s what makes it hard for the smaller, even more old-school places like us.”
Until recently the store did not even have a computer, so they are learning to manage old and new technologies. Caty Rushing, another team member, said they complete all business transactions by hand to stay true to the store’s vintage flair.
“It’s very bare bones, but it really works for us,” Rushing said. “And that’s why I think branching into the social media thing was kind of a big deal because it’s really heading into the more technical direction.”
One of the reasons they started posting merchandise on Instagram was of the app’s straightforward approach to displaying merchandise, thus making it more accessible for customers. Many have already purchased items they saw on the account.
“That’s the whole point of stores putting their merchandise on that [social media]. As soon as you see it, you want to go and buy it,” Eichenberger said.
The variety of Retro Ranch gives the store another advantage over other stores that sell vintage or antiques, but the obstacle is finding a way to effectively communicate what it offers.
“We’re an antique store, but we’re kind of focused on antiques that younger people are interested in,” Hunter said. “We don’t work with a lot of the much older pieces. Reaching those [younger] people are online a lot.”
In merging the old and the new, Retro Ranch has partnered with local record store Stinkweeds, which provides a listening station at the front of the store where customers can listen and purchase music handpicked by the Stinkweeds staff.
Dario Miranda, a sales associate at Stinkweeds, said there needs to be a balance between traditional and modern selling practices.
“There’s a trick to it with the social media,” Miranda said. “You could be a robot online or show that your establishment has a personality, and that’s what you’re trying to sell.”
While it can be easy to lose the vintage essence in modern platforms, staff members from both Retro Ranch and Stinkweeds said they maintain the retro vibe of the store through the language and presentation.
“I think it’s almost like a preservation of the past, of the town, of the city,” Rushing said. “I feel like it’s a way for things to be re-purposed—for things to be re-appreciated and brought back into the community.”
Despite the continuously changing business model, the Retro Ranch team strives to leave customers with a taste of the past whether it is in the store or online.
“The challenge isn’t getting people in the door, it’s keeping up with technology,” Hunter said. “We want to make it more known.”
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Valley bicycle enthusiasts will turn “Black Friday” into “Green Friday” this year when pre-launch founding memberships for the new Grid Bike Share program go on sale. A limited number of founding memberships will be available beginning at 12:01 a.m. Friday and can be purchased at GRIDBIKES.COM.
Grid, which is set to launch in Phoenix in early 2014, will consist of a fleet of public bicycles, which are docked at self-service stations in downtown and central Phoenix and near the Metro Light Rail. The program will expand to include Tempe and Mesa in Spring 2014. Grid members or day pass users can locate, reserve and check out the GPS-enabled bikes using the Grid Bikes app, personal computers, kiosks or on the bikes directly.
Grid will sell 1,000 Founding Memberships at $99, and you can purchase a second membership at half off in the same transaction. Founding members will receive a “Griddy Bag” with a Special Founding Member T-shirt, Grid water bottle and sunglasses. Grid members get one hour of free riding time every day that can be used in small increments or all at once. The membership fees will be used to help maintain and operate the Grid Bike Share system.
Longtime Valley bicycle advocate John Romero, Director of Grid Bike Share, said the founding memberships are “a great gift idea.”
“While you are out shopping for that perfect gift on Friday, why don’t you get yourself and your loved ones a gift that’s fun, healthy and environmentally friendly?” Romero said. “There has been a lot of excitement building since we announced the Bike Share program, and now the public can get on board directly by becoming Grid members.”
In just a few short days, the city sidewalks of CityScape will be decked in holiday style when the downtown Phoenix entertainment hub makes its annual transformation to a winter wonderland.
Thanksgiving weekend marks the beginning of the holiday festivities at CityScape, including their Alternative Black Friday featuring a Vintage Market with unique local shopping on November 29, and CitySkate, the glittering ice skating rink and light display set in the middle of Central Avenue from November 30 through January 14.
According to Jeff Moloznik, vice president of development for RED, CityScape’s real estate development company, downtown is a natural fit for events like this that showcase what a “creative, diverse, and entrepreneurial community Phoenix really is.”
With the sounds of ice skaters swirling around a frozen rink, shoppers finding that (sugar) plum gift that’s been dancing in their heads, and with the holidays’ greatest hits filling the air in downtown, CityScape will be buzzing like lights on the tree over the next six weeks.
Ready to bring on the downtown holiday cheer? Here’s what you need to know:
Alternative Black Friday – Vintage Market
Shop over 20 local vendors including Meat Market Vintage, Antique Sugar, Grow-Op and Annie Boomer Vintage for clothing, home decor, jewelry and lots more. Also score some sweet Black Friday deals at CityScape shops like Urban Outfitters, Lawless Denim & Co., Charming Charlie and Jos A. Bank.
Make your shopping experience a little merrier with mimosas, local beer and wine from Chloe’s Corner and live music and DJ’s or take a spin on the ice with half-price skating during a sneak-peek of CitySkate.
When: Friday, November 29, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: Patriots Square at CityScape
Take in the sights and sounds of the season while cruising around the ice. CitySkate’s official opening is set for Saturday, November 30, beginning at 3 p.m. with crafts for kids, a visit from Santa, and live music from the ASU Gospel Choir and The Phoenix Symphony.
At 6 p.m. that night, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and his family will be on hand for the official City of Phoenix tree lighting, followed by a figure skating performance and the official opening of the CitySkate rink..
Along with daily skating, the next six weeks are filled with activities to keep kids and adults in the holiday spirit. Look for a Monday through Friday Lunch and Skate special, Adult Skate every Saturday night with DJ’s and games and a special Disney on Ice performance on January 8.
And if you’re not quite ready to leave the festivities, Kimpton’s Hotel Palomar Phoenix is offering a “Stay & Skate” package that includes a special room rate from $129 per night, two tickets to CitySkate, and 20 percent off all spa services at Repose Salon & Spa.
NRG Energy is the presenting sponsor for CitySkate and a portion of the proceeds from the event will go to Republic Media’s Season for Sharing campaign.
Ice Rink Dates and Hours
Nov. 30 through Jan. 14
Monday – Friday: 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Saturday – Sunday: 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Christmas Eve: 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Christmas Day: 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Admission includes skate rental and unlimited skating all day
Kids and Adults – $12 each
Military – $6 each
Seniors – $10 each
Kids under 3 – $6 each
Students (with ID) – $10 each
Groups of 10 or more – $10 each
Tickets available at the rink or online through Ticketmaster
For more information about the CityScape Phoenix, visit www.cityscapephoenix.com.
Images provided by CityScape
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Lawless Denim & Co. to Open First Store at CityScape Phoenix
Arizona’s First and Only Denim Manufacturer Brings Custom, Handmade Jeans to Downtown
Lawless Denim & Co. will be the first and only denim manufacturer in the state of Arizona when it opens the doors of its first store at CityScape Phoenix on Oct. 12 offering 100 percent handmade, custom-fit jeans, denim clothing items and leather goods.
The 3,200-square-foot space will serve as both a retail location and a manufacturing shop that will feature reams of 25 different types of selvedge denim for customers to choose from in 10 different styles. With everything made by hand, the manufacturing area will have professional tailoring stations, vintage sewing machines (pictured below) used for stitching and cutting tables. Customers will be assisted by denim smiths and in-store designer Maya Vita to select sizing, denim type, cut, style, stitching color and button finishes. Each pair of custom jeans are priced around $245.
Lawless Denim & Co. products stay true to classic American denim manufacturing with brass hardware, vintage-sewn stitches and the highest quality American and Japanese selvedge denim. Selvedge denim is made in small batches on pre-WWII vintage looms, much like the ones Levi Strauss used when first making blue jeans in the 1870s. The limited release of each batch of selvedge denim ensures customers receive unique and specialized denim weight, color and texture. Lawless will also have ready-made jeans available for purchase that can be tailor fit and priced from $85 to $180.
“It’s all about keeping with tradition and bringing each customer a truly unique and custom-made pair of jeans that will easily become their favorite pair of jeans,” said Roman Acevedo, Phoenix resident and owner of Lawless Denim & Co. “You can’t get anything like this in Arizona. In cities like New York and Los Angeles, you’ll typically pay $400 for custom jeans. Our jeans are handmade to your body type with high-quality denim in classic styles that will never go out of style. The best part – you’re part of the design process.”
Other custom-made items at Lawless include denim jackets and leather goods such as belts, wallets, accessories and bags. Acevedo purchased a rare Italian belt cutter that will be the only one in Arizona.
In celebration of its grand opening week, Lawless is offering customers a custom-made pair of jeans for $175 from Oct.13 through Oct. 20. Also, men’s and women’s ready-made jeans in white oak raw selvedge denim will be on special for $107.
“Lawless Denim & Co. is a prime example of the entrepreneurial spirit taking place in downtown Phoenix. Roman is drawing attention to a great American tradition of denim manufacturing and its authentic connection to Arizona. Today’s consumers expect quality, craft and authenticity. Downtown is all about reinvention and Lawless embodies that,” said Jeff Moloznik, vice president of development at RED Development.
Lawless Denim & Co. is open Monday through Saturday from 11am to 9pm and on Sunday from noon to 7pm. For more information, please visit www.lawlessdenim.com or call 602-288-8302. Find Lawless on social media at www.instagram.com/lawlessdenimandco, www.facebook.com/lawlessdenim and www.twitter.com/lawlessdenim.
Photos provided by Lawless Denim & Co.
Here at DPJ, we’re all about sharing what we love. Beyond the stories that make us love downtown, we often come across things that catch our eye, tingle our senses or have us dancing in delight. “We Like…” turns a brief spotlight on the little treasures that make our day, with helpful links so you can share in the fun.
This cool bookcase was a recent find at Retro Ranch, one of downtown Phoenix’s inspiring vintage shops found in the Melrose District along 7th Ave. The shop is full of treasures, such as this one-of-kind bookcase that doesn’t have an identifying label or stamp. To this shopper, the lack of a label simply adds to its mysterious allure.
The bookcase consists of three pieces that stack on top of each other, including an extended shelf perfect for displaying an eye-popping vintage phone. I like the dark wood with its antique appearance, but I love the unique patina that results from a scattering of worn spots. Maybe it’s a look that only a true vintage collector could adore, but I think you might feel the same way!
Another find included these blue gray “Zodiac” pointed-toe ankle boots that I discovered in the clothing section. Yes, that’s right – Retro Ranch has a clothing section full of irreplaceable shoes, frocks and accessories that will inspire anyone to get up in the morning and pull together a dynamic new look.
I like the gently worn 80’s vibe of these boots, which makes them a perfect accessory to simple, or a more polished look. This label is seemingly no longer in production, which is all the more reason to browse through Retro Ranch for more undiscovered beauties!
Retro Ranch, 4303 N. 7th Ave., 602-297-1971
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