Newton Falls – “Antique.” “Historical.” “Retro.” “Throwback.” “Classic.” Whatever word you choose to use to describe something from an era before the present, the current, the “now,” you can find something to suit your tastes at a charming spot midway down the main street of Newton Falls, a spot quite “vintage” itself… Broad Street Vintage, that is. Though its grand opening in March 2015 makes this fascinating stop quite a modern-day young un’ at just over a year and a few months old, the interior of the space instantly transports visitors along a trail of memory-keepers hundreds of years old.
With a proprietor as pleasantly eclectic as the shop itself, Broad Street Vintage offers curious clients a place to peruse where everything has a story and that owner, Pam Talanca, is more than willing to serve as tour guide, kindly chatting with customers about what she knows of the history for this piece or that. Pam’s personal favorite period of time is mid-century so there is a wonderful assortment of dishes, linens, knickknacks and other tchotchkes or trinkets from around the 1950s, but as her goal is to “make it fun for anybody that would come in,” a keen eye could stand in one place and spy representatives from the 1980s back to the 1880s and several decades in between. In addition to the handkerchief tree and beautiful glassware display cabinet, one of the loveliest corners in the space is where the more primitive pieces are placed. Pam proudly points out this collection which includes pinafores, pottery and a butter churn from the late 1880s/early 1900s, making one appreciate the relative ease now at simply popping by a grocery store to obtain butter and the bread on which to spread it.
It’s hard not to indulge one’s imagination for a moment and consider just who might have used these items to carve out an everyday living doing tasks that we take for granted in our 21st century existence. From the old tools surviving since the turn of the century, many of which are still functional, to the slightly battered wardrobe trunks that possibly carried a lady’s or gent’s fine clothes over state lines in a horse drawn carriage or over the ocean waves in a luxury liner, each item has a story to tell if only we could speak its language and listen!
This lifelong passion of collecting bits and baubles of extraordinary ephemera has manifested itself into Pam’s intriguing store which is definitely not “just antiques” but rather an exhibit of all sorts of unusual things. With trends rotating through the ages, it’s not uncommon to have young people on the hunt for a style originally made popular in the olden days and Pam mentioned many shoppers of all ages prefer to decorate not just themselves but their homes by joining in the upcycling movement and putting a creative stroke on something once loved decades ago. “Some people that are ‘diehard antiquers’ would cringe at the very thought,” she said, referring to the recent upswing in the desire to upcycle, “and consider it a crime to touch the original features of the piece.” But for Pam, part of the fun is seeing it transformed into a new purpose and some of her customers are quite talented indeed in that regard. Among the most popular items are old handkerchiefs which can be repurposed into dainty valances or delicate quilts, vintage hats which have many personas and can be easily redefined style-wise with a strategically placed pin or ribbon wrapping, and various glass pieces from carnival glass to iridescent glass to Depression Era pink, all which never need be used for dinnerware again to enjoy a second life. Countless books once loved for their covers and their contents, furniture in all shapes, sizes and functions, and other more unexpected oddities round out the canvases just waiting for an inventive hand.
In addition to selling the tidbits of history on parade, Pam invites patrons to bring by their own items that they’ve found in an attic or barn or ancestor’s dwelling and chat with her about their possible history and perhaps an informal appraisal. Though she is transitioning the business away from consignments, Pam is interested in buying boxed lots of vintage “stuff” outright so people are welcome to drop in with items for sale as well. Looking for something specific that’s not currently in stock? Just ask and she will try her best to possibly acquire it for you with the help of her network of family and friends that regularly assist in the quest for just those right pieces of the past.
Just one stop in to this surprising shop and you’re sure to learn something new – or old! – whether it be the important designation between “vintage” (approximately anything from 1980 and before) and what truly earns the right to be called “antique” (aged at least 100 years) or a more in-depth education thanks to a hosted mini tour of the store offered for local historical groups.
To see this treasure trove of times gone by, check out the photo posts on the Broad Street Vintage facebook page, available 24/7, or pop over in person. Starting June 29th, business hours are: closed Sunday, Monday and Tuesday; open Wednesday-Saturday 11am-5pm (only until 3pm on Saturdays) or by appointment. (Just remember, times listed are 21st century, Eastern Standard Time!)