In Retrospect, Happy Holler is All About Vintage: New Business

Retrospect Vintage Store, 1121 N. Central Street, Knoxville, March 2014

Retrospect Vintage Store, 1121 N. Central Street, Knoxville, March 2014

After enjoying Architectural Antics last Saturday, Urban Woman and I headed into the heart of Happy Holler to visit Retrospect Vintage Store. I’d been remiss in waiting this long. Co-Owner Gina Alazawi invited me down several weeks ago and I just hadn’t made it. I missed what proved to be a spectacular Grand Opening March 8 when I had to work. So, I was overdue and I admitted as much when we arrived.

Gina and business partner Tree Ely-Griffin, who both greeted us as we walked in, graciously welcomed us as we entered. Gina was hard at work re-arranging the center of the store, which was a good thing, because it was the sale of several pieces of furniture that had opened the gap on the display floor.

Retrospect Vintage Store, 1121 N. Central Street, Knoxville, March 2014

Retrospect Vintage Store, 1121 N. Central Street, Knoxville, March 2014

Retrospect Vintage Store, 1121 N. Central Street, Knoxville, March 2014

Retrospect Vintage Store, 1121 N. Central Street, Knoxville, March 2014

Retrospect Vintage Store, 1121 N. Central Street, Knoxville, March 2014

Retrospect Vintage Store, 1121 N. Central Street, Knoxville, March 2014

The business moved from Clinton in January, where the ladies did business as “Collectabillies.” It’s interesting to note that this is the second business which has moved from Clinton to downtown in recent months and both feature large quantities of beautifully aged quality items, though they are very different from each other. The other is Coldstream Market, which moved into 34 Market Square last September. Maybe we should all take a trip to Clinton to see what’s coming next. They are sending us some quality retail.

A walk through retrospect is alternately exhilarating and sobering. I mean, we walk in and say, “Oh, that’s the table that used to be in our kitchen when we were young.” and “Look, there’s my old metal lunch box!” and “Hey, how did they get my Mom’s Tuperware ketchup and mustard containers?” It goes on and on. It’s hard to avoid feeling old, though Gina assured me that the items in the store, and by default Urban Woman and myself are not antique, but vintage. Like a good wine! See? I feel better already.

Retrospect Vintage Store, 1121 N. Central Street, Knoxville, March 2014

Retrospect Vintage Store, 1121 N. Central Street, Knoxville, March 2014

Retrospect Vintage Store, 1121 N. Central Street, Knoxville, March 2014

Retrospect Vintage Store, 1121 N. Central Street, Knoxville, March 2014

Retrospect Vintage Store, 1121 N. Central Street, Knoxville, March 2014

Retrospect Vintage Store, 1121 N. Central Street, Knoxville, March 2014

There were too many items to pick out a single favorite, but I’ve pictured some of them here. I’m always tempted to buy a crazy hat when I’m in a vintage store. Which one would look best on Urban Guy? I’m really digging the Royal Mountie hat, but I’m having a hard time seeing me rocking it down the street. Then there was that game system from the 1970s! They had game systems in the 1970s? Not in my house!

Retrospect Vintage Store, 1121 N. Central Street, Knoxville, March 2014

Retrospect Vintage Store, 1121 N. Central Street, Knoxville, March 2014

They also had a number of wall maps and I’m always crazy for maps of any kind. I almost included one of the Americas which was in Spanish, but I think I understood something about Latin Solidarity, though I could be wrong. Instead I went with the one pictured here because I have absolutely no idea where in the world it might be or the origin of the language used. I have been accused of coming from someplace named “Slowville,” and the name sounds like that could be the place.

Retrospect Vintage Store, 1121 N. Central Street, Knoxville, March 2014

Retrospect Vintage Store, 1121 N. Central Street, Knoxville, March 2014

Retrospect Vintage Store, 1121 N. Central Street, Knoxville, March 2014

Retrospect Vintage Store, 1121 N. Central Street, Knoxville, March 2014

Retrospect Vintage Store, 1121 N. Central Street, Knoxville, March 2014

Retrospect Vintage Store, 1121 N. Central Street, Knoxville, March 2014

They have some absolutely great funky western wear and a pretty large selection of boots for men and women. Some of the boots and the clothes are downright fancy and I understand the origin of some of them may be a certain famous local lady who sports that look day and night. Don’t try to figure it out. Look at that shirt and either you immediately guess the person or you just don’t know.

Retrospect Vintage Store, 1121 N. Central Street, Knoxville, March 2014

Retrospect Vintage Store, 1121 N. Central Street, Knoxville, March 2014

Retrospect Vintage Store, 1121 N. Central Street, Knoxville, March 2014

Retrospect Vintage Store, 1121 N. Central Street, Knoxville, March 2014

A common thread in many similar stores are there political buttons, bobble heads and other items. I’m always attracted to the bad guys and they had Goldwater, Nixon and, my personal favorite: George Wallace. Still, the show was stolen, for me by the Lyndon Johnson bobblehead. I recently learned (from Facebook, so it has to be true, right?) that he had so many women coming and going at the White House that they named them “Lyndon’s Harem.” Look at that bobblehead and try to make sense of that fact.

Retrospect Vintage Store, 1121 N. Central Street, Knoxville, March 2014

Retrospect Vintage Store, 1121 N. Central Street, Knoxville, March 2014

As we left, I noticed the coffin. This is definitely an item I’ve not seen at a vintage store of any kind. Gina assured us it was a Halloween prop. It looks pretty functional to me. I’m pretty much a procrastinator, but I know some of you are into planning for every contingency. Well, here’s your chance to be prepared on that final day. I doubt it will last long now that I’ve mentioned it, so you best hurry.

The store is 3,000 square feet of this kind of fun. It’s another perfect fit for Happy Holler which seems to intuitively staying true to its inner funkiness. I can’t really think of another part of the city that has such a distinct personality. Tree, Gina and the Lydon Johnson bobblehead add just a little more cool to a cool spot.

Comments

  1. The map is Polish I think?: http://mapy.net.pl/pl/p/Slowianie-w-IX-wieku.-Mapa-scienna/339

    Google translates the description to: “Slavs in the ninth century. Wall Map … Image spread of Western Slavs, Eastern and Southern on the background of the political situation.”

  2. Lyndon’s box says he “sticks to dashboard.” Good to know. Can you imagine driving around with that thing on your dash? Hula girl yes. LBJ no.

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says

      Apparently LBJ was considered hot at one time. Maybe the ladies would like a little LBJ love on the dashboard. I’m not here to judge.

  3. You would be correct. The map is of Eastern Europe/Russia. You can make out Italy, Greece, and the Mediterranean Sea, pretty easily. I NEED THIS!

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says

      Clearly you and Matt are smarter than me. You better hurry, if you want it, now that its gotten some exposure you know everybody will be fighting over it.

  4. I bought a map from Retrospect a few weeks ago. After a little bit of research I discovered that my map was printed in the 1920s…perfect for my 1920s Craftsman.

    So happy to have another quality shop in the neighborhood!

  5. Well, whatdya know… JFK was just the fall guy for LBJ’s dalliances. The old bait and switch. Should have seen that one coming.

  6. I am happy to note that my fiance and myself are perhaps the reason for some of that rearranging that was needed. We bought a beautiful mid century dresser and chair there on Saturday. There is no buyer’s remorse here. We will definitely be frequenting the store often. They were so helpful.

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