In recent years, Phoenix residents have fallen in love with all things retro. Historic home tours draw tons of visitors and clothing stores like Hollywood Regency and Mint have capitalized on the vintage/pinup/rockabilly trend.
Now Roosevelt Row's getting in on the retro action with two new stores featuring clothes, trinkets and more from days gone by. The pair will soon be joined by the GROWop, a resale store inside the Growhouse at Garfield & 6th. If you're familiar with downtown Phoenix, you'll probably recognize the signage and the 30% off rack of colorful polyester duds perched outside Butter Toast Boutique.
The shop was formerly located in Paisley Town, the swath of colorfully painted WWII bunkers behind the Paisley Violin on Grand Ave. It was a great space and all, but teeeeny. So when co-owner Jasmine spotted a large duplex on Sixth St. up for grabs, she figured it was time to spread out. "I literally called an hour after they put the sign up!" she quips.
Butter Toast's new digs are plenty spacious, with beautiful exposed brick walls and several back rooms, one of which is divided up into good sized dressing areas. The other room is leased out to Merrie May Handmade, which offers knitting goods from embroidery floss to crocheted coasters and baby booties.
Butter Toast is open Tues.-Wed. 11 - 6 and Thurs. - Sat. 11 - 8 p.m. Stop by for their Grand Re-Opening party on Saturday, May 8.
Just a few doors down is Diggin' Art, a vintage boutique that quietly opened a couple of months ago at 918 N. 6th St. Owner Corinne Kurzmann came to Phoenix after a car accident left her unable to take the wetness and wintertime cold of Asheville, North Carolina.
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She packed up her boutique and moved to the driest, hottest place she could think of. Yay, Phoenix! And yay for retro lovers, who now have an excellent shopping option featuring fashions collected on the East Coast.
There's a reason this place is called Diggin Art: be prepared to dig. The shop is jam-packed with piles of vintage hats, racks of clothes, shoes and accessories (Tip: be prepared to wash everything well if you have allergies to pets or cig smoke).
There's a huge case of rhinestone-studded baubles on one side, and a shelf of fun vintage fortune teller kits in a wall-mounted cupboard. During my visit, Kurzmann pulled a pretty glass knob to expose a drawer filled with vintage pins. "Every drawer has something in it!" she says.
"The first one I did was Young Frankenstein. We had like 70 people show up, and it was a blast," she says. "The last one I did, the week before my wreck, was Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. And we had 900 people show up!" Here's hoping for that kind of success in Phoenix -- and that the cops don't bust her for using a vacant lot.