Written Sample: Sixth Street becomes home to unique vintage shops

A cyclist bikes across the street in downtown Phoenix. Alexis Macklin for Downtown Devil
A cyclist bikes across the street in downtown Phoenix. Alexis Macklin for Downtown Devil


Published on Downtown Devil 

By Alexis Macklin, On Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Cellar Door VintageGrowOp Boutique and Annie Boomer Vintage all share the same street and specialize in the same trade: vintage clothing.

However, these three stores located in downtown Phoenix near Sixth and Roosevelt streets love each others’ company and work together to help each others’ business.

GrowOp Boutique was the first vintage boutique on Sixth Street. Kenny Barrett, the co-owner of the store, said the reason there is no competition between the stores is because each store has its own personality.

“The benefit of having three shops now makes (Sixth Street) a destination,” Barrett said. “That’s something that is new to (GrowOp), and we are excited about that.”

Barrett also works for the Roosevelt Row Community Development Corporation, and said part of his job is to “cultivate new business” in the area.

“I’m always looking for new ways to bring people to that area; small businesses, and (to) strengthen our community,” he said.

One of his ways to “cultivate new business” was to convince Jake Ooley, co-owner of Cellar Door Vintage, to open his vintage shop next door.

Ooley was participating in theAdaptive Reuse of Temporary Space market, a public market only open during the first and third Friday art walk, when Barrett approached him about opening a vintage shop on Sixth Street in an empty storefront.

“It just seemed like a good fit with good neighbors,” Ooley said. “I love the area and the neighbors and I couldn’t be more pleased.”

Each shop differs in appearance and feel, which has contributed to the camaraderie between shops, Ooley said. Annie Boomer Vintage only sells women’s clothing. Both GrowOp Boutique and Cellar Door Vintage sell men and women’s clothing.

GrowOp Boutique reflects Barrett’s Growhouse community garden, having a nature-inspired appearance with plaid clothing and hand-made items for sale. Cellar Door Vintage is eclectic, with mostly 80s and 90s clothing for sale.

“There is definitely an overlap of customers, but we all have different regular customers,” he said. “We definitely share customers and kind of feed off of each other, but we all each bring a new dynamic to the area.”

Owner of Annie Boomer Vintage Andrea Engelsberg said First Friday Art Walks also bring recognition to their stores.

“It’s crowded from 6 p.m. to midnight, there is a constant parade of people,” she said. “People who wouldn’t know about us otherwise come and see us on First Fridays, which is a big bonus for us. It just seemed like the best location in Phoenix for what I am doing.”

The main types of people who enjoy First Friday are those that enjoy vintage, Engelsberg said. It attracts young people “who don’t just want to shop at the mall.”

“We are all so different,” she said. “It is kind of like we are our own little vintage mall. Even if we had the same things, it’s such a different environment in each shop that people are just more likely to buy in each place.”

Vintage is unique in the sense that each shop has different inventory, Ooley said. Commercial clothing stores sell multiple sizes of the same thing, while vintage boutiques carry one-of-a-kind pieces.

“Rarely do you have two of the same thing or even one of your neighbors have the same thing as you,” Ooley said. “There may be something similar, but when someone finds a piece that is meant for them, it is kind of meant to be.”

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