Think you know ALL Palm Springs vintage venues? I bet not. The hip new Sunny Dunes Vintage Row – tucked behind a tire company and vintage car dealership – is the hottest new find in a city filled with wondrous vintage stores. Located just off South Palm Canyon Drive on namesake East Sunny Dunes Road, I recently perused its fab shops and was amazed. It’s so “insider,” most of the stores don’t have websites. Each is truly unique, offering an eclectic mix from museum quality Native American artifacts and recently discovered ‘60s celebrity 8X10 glossies – to vintage Disney cardboard cut-outs and mid-century designer chandeliers.
It’s a long story, but suffice to say that AAA Palm Stars (401 E. Sunny Dunes Rd.) is not to be missed. As owner Michael McGarry told me, “I have everything from Tong Dynasty to Lucille Ball.” He’s curated for museums and features museum quality Native American art – with many vintage baskets from legendary area Indian trading posts. And thanks to his connection with a mid-century studio photographer-to-the-stars; he’s introducing a collection of never-before-seen black-and-white glossies. I snagged a fabulous Jimi Hendrix 8X10.
The Sunny Dunes Antique Mall (507 E. Sunny Dunes Rd.) features 38 vendors under one roof. Co-owner Scotty Smith (locals know him as a maitre de at Lyons English Grille) acts as spokesperson for this labyrinth of retail fun and for Sunny Dunes Vintage Row in general. “We keep bringing in new inventory and it keeps selling,” Scotty enthused. Following Scotty through his “6,000 square feet of retail happiness,” I found a large Steiff toy poodle for $400, two-foot-high cardboard cut-outs of Bambi and Thumper (if you don’t know Thumper, you weren’t there…) original from the ‘50s. As a Baby Boomer, I had to buy one at $20. Beautiful mahogany furniture, mid-century glass, artwork by Russell Blackburn, costume jewelry, a great set of matching frog ceramics – I bought them for $25 – and all the mid-century necessities.
Inside newly opened Warren (407 E. Industrial Place), sales person Kathy Lay pointed out a huge Beth Weissman chandelier. “Beth went out of business in 1993 because she didn’t want to compromise her quality,” Kathy explained. “A chandelier this size is a real find, and fairly priced at $1,200.” Warren is small and eclectic. “We have it all,” she said. I saw lots of Lucite and vintage Blenko Glass. Other Vintage Row shops include the Little Shop of Treasures (616 E. Sunny Dunes Rd.), Bazaar Delar (577 E. Sunny Dunes Rd.) and Design by De Siena (507A E. Sunny Dunes Rd.).
Be sure to walk across the street to Q Trading Company (www.qtrading.com, 606 E. Sunny Dunes Rd.). It’s a go-to for locals looking for hip and cool vintage-style modern everything from metal toys and collectable Christmas ornaments – they are the only shop to carry a special Palm Springs Christmas ornament, I was told -- to kitchen gadgets and gay-centric gifts.