By Julie Blunt
More than 13,000-square-feet of bright colored clothes; uniquely designed furniture; antique toys and collectors’ items; vintage entertainment; a private movie theater; a welcoming community – and an ambiance like no other in Sacramento.
Stardust Vintage Emporium, named after the old hotel and casino from Las Vegas, opened their doors a year ago following a delay from the pandemic. The emporium recently celebrated its first birthday with a vintage parking lot sale to bring together a community of antique and vintage lovers.
Rich Duncan, a vendor at the event who’s been with Stardust Vintage Emporium since about a month after it opened, said that antiquing is a culture.
“This is addicting,” Duncan said. “Antiques are almost like a drug, in my opinion. I really love it. You just can’t help it. You just want to keep buying more and more.”
When the store first opened, there had only been about six vendors, according to Karen Chance, Stardust Vintage Emporium Owner. A year later, their anniversary parking lot sale brought together over 70 vendors both inside the store and outside.
Only a day after the store opened, Stardust Vintage Emporium went viral on social media with over 250,000 views in two weeks, Chance added.
“The whole thing about vintage stuff is its nostalgia,” she said. “What’s really interesting … it changes.”
In a generation of social media, the vintage aesthetic of the 60s, 70s and 80s has become popular.
“The Millennials and Gen X right now are having kids, they’re buying houses,” Chance observed. “They’re the ones that are the consumers right now. Now, they did not live through the 60s and 70s. Their parents or grandparents did. But, everyone in the generation, since the invention of the cell phone, is media conscious…It’s all about the media with them.”
Nano Woo, a frequent shopper at Stardust, found the emporium through Instagram.
“I’ve been coming here like a few times a month actually,” Woo said. “They update [inside the store] pretty frequently.”
Chance said that vendors are able to rent out spaces in the store to sell things in their vintage collection. However, the store is completely full and there is no more room for vendors at the moment.
“We’re a family,” Chance explained. “So, I wanted to make sure that’s how it is. So I’m really picky about who comes in…We are not competitive. You cannot buy someone’s product because they happen to sell it cheap, and stick it in your space to sell it for more.”
She said that she holds her vendors to high standards in order for customers and vintage lovers to get the best quality out of their items.
“One of my biggest things is, I want people to walk into this store and if they buy a piece of furniture, a dress [or] an electronic device, it’s clean, it works, it’s sanitary [and] it’s in as much perfect vintage condition as it can be,” Chance said.
Chance and her vendors help teach each other how to take care of their items as well as making sure their prices are true to the worth of the item.
Audie Ramirez, a vendor at the vintage parking lot sale, said that she just recently got into altering and selling vintage clothing.
“This is my probably fourth vendor event that I’ve done,” Ramirez said. “But I’ve always appreciated vintage clothing since I was like in elementary [school] because my family couldn’t afford new stuff. So what we did is, my mom would have hand-me-downs and we’d go to the thrift store and I always really loved it.”
Aanisha Bibi, a shopper at Stardust, finds that the store inspires her to step out of her comfort zone with clothing style and home decor.
“Everything feels very homey and comfortable,” Bibi reflected. “I think even if you’re not looking to buy anything, It’s an experience itself.”
At Stardust, visitors can join the community for different events such as holiday sip-and-shops, vintage car shows on the first Friday of every month or they can rent out the movie theater for their own private events.
The theater can be rented out starting at one hundred dollars an hour during hours of operation.
“My vision for this was Disneyland for vintage lovers,” Chance said. “And I’m not done. I have a million things I want to do.”
Stardust Vintage Emporium is located at 9580 Micron Ave. in Sacramento and open Thursday through Monday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.