There's a new vintage store in town, newly opened by a couple of your favorite locals. Your girl and awesome Hinano bartender, Melissa Monroe (yes, the Melissa of "Melissa's Michelada"!), and Petey Pete, local DJ Extraordinaire, have joined forces to create Only In Venice Vintage - a space for clothing creativity and originality in a stall right on Windward Avenue, a few steps from the Boardwalk.
Both Monroe and Pete are self-confessed clothes hoarders, and both have had the dream of their own shop for a long time. By coming together, they were able to make the dreams real, and it's now open for business and discovery - by you.
Monroe was born and raised in Louisiana, and Pete was born in Thailand, and both now firmly claim Venice as their HOME. Monroe moved to L.A. for beauty school, but hated it, and soon ditched that for doing wardrobe on commercials, which she loved because she got to work with clothes. "I'm a clothes hoarder ... it's kind of gross," explained Monroe, adding, "My house, my car, my storage space, they're all full. It's a big mess of happiness and clothes." And now her treasures can be yours. Treasures like a track suit from the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Like a vintage Oingo Boingo tee. Like Harley patch vests. Like vintage cord Op shorts. Like you name it, you'll probably find it.
Monroe and Pete have both collected vintage clothing forever, so there's endless potential for your perfect find in their little space on what I'm now calling "Vintage Row". We've got Gotta Have It, Animal House, Only In Venice Vintage, and a couple more all in like one block. As is the point of vintage, they're all one of a kind, original pieces, and every shop contains different treasures, so there's room for everyone in what is a pretty cool shopping destination for vintage clothing hunters. Venice is spoiled when it comes to excellent vintage - and that's a good thing.
Venice almost lost out to Amsterdam though, when Monroe just about moved there with all of her piles of clothes. A friend there asked her what her dream was, and it was to have her own store. There was a space ready to go and everything ... and then Monroe realized that she wanted her store in Venice. "Venice is my home now." I get it. After tending bar at Hinano's for the past 13 years, Monroe had built up a family and a community here, and when she found the space for Only In Venice Vintage, she loved it because it's like a big heart shape for her to walk from her apartment to Hinano to Only In Venice Vintage to Pete's place ... it's all in the neighborhood.
Everyone always says "Only in Venice!", so that became the perfect name for Monroe and Pete to operate their business under. Their spot right off the Boardwalk brings entertaining characters by all day long, and they can post up in the chairs out front to chat with passersby and help them find just the right Venice souvenir. Also, the Venice Mardi Gras Parade is coming up on February 23, and Only In Venice Vintage has the duds to deck you out for the festivities. This year's theme is "Magical Mystery Tour" and there are psychedelic, sequined, and glittery pieces galore to make sure that you're properly groovy for the day.
As we were chatting, a friend/customer came in and heard me asking what they want people to know about the shop, and "Jimmy" said, "You know there's gonna be some cool shit in there," providing that answer for them. With all the corporate takeover b.s. that's been happening in Venice, Monroe urges their customers to "Stay original. Be one of a kind. Don't be a chain." Exactly. Pete added that, "This is a REAL local business. The people that work here, live here. Support your local Sis & Bro business." Yeah.
It's been a soft open for Only In Venice Vintage, as they still have some things to get done, like get their sign up and some other little stuff, but they're ready to go and are planning an opening party very soon. Friends have helped a lot, with Monroe's boyfriend, Frank, creating the wall collage out of vintage Life Magazine photos, friend Steve building the walls, friends John and Matt installing their lights. While doing all of this work and planning, they both also have their other jobs, Monroe at Hinano, and Pete DJ'ing at Brennan's (Saturdays) and Surfside (Wednesdays) every week. They're busy, but it's all been worth it as they're making their dream come true together. And THAT is worth supporting.
Check them out ... there's a real good chance that when you're there you'll spot something or someone that makes you say or think, "Only in Venice!" Awesome.
Only In Venice Vintage
38 Windward Avenue (formerly the Bike Rental)