Best Antique Mall 2011 | Zinnias on Melrose | Shopping & Services | Phoenix
Is it the fact that we never leave this great treasure trove empty-handed? Is it that the friendly staff routinely tips us off to sales at other, nearby antique stores? Is it the fact that this place shares a parking lot with Flo's, one of the best thrift stores in town? When you're talking Zinnias on Melrose, the answer is "yes" to all. This 15,000-square-foot vintage-and-collectibles mall features 36 different vendors, where bargain hunters have scored everything from a 1950s chrome dining set to a pair of chandelier earrings once worn by Mama Cass on the Tonight Show. Proprietor Michael Robertson knows the business: He grew up in his great-grandparents' antique shop and has been scouting estate sales across the nation for decades. He hauls his fab finds back to Phoenix, and we're grateful he does.
Hidden in the shadow of the beautiful Wright House events space, you will find a little old house with a hand-painted sign that you have probably overlooked hundred of times while making the commute from Mesa to Tempe. Waiting inside is an eclectic collection of unique antiques with price tags that won't send you running back to the thrift stores. Cherry Street is packed from floor to ceiling with everything from vintage furs to antique clocks. Set aside a chunk of your day to search through the treasure chests of jewelry and rummage through the mountains of kitchen goods. The selection is always changing, and the woman behind the counter is as sweet as pie and more than willing to help you find whatever it may be that you're looking for.
It's true: People can live perfectly happily having only ever purchased dinged-up, scratched antique furniture. Nobody needs a perfectly preserved dining room suite from 1930 that one can just haul home, set up, and admire without all the fussing around with scratch cover or — worse! — stripper and refinisher. But just once, consider buying a piece of old furniture that doesn't need to be rescued, just to be admired. And when you do, think about doing it at this often-overlooked trove, where the prices are more than fair. We did. A French Deco bed we saw there was calling our name and, even at a price point higher than one we'd have had to restore, it was worth it — because we went from admiring it to sleeping in it, that very same night. Cheap is good, but everyone deserves a splurge every now and then.Readers' Choice:
We put it off for as long as we could: buying a runner for the downstairs hallway in our old, old house. It needed to be an antique, but not too worn-looking. A reproduction wouldn't do (too new-looking), and we knew what that meant: Pulling out a big wad of cash, because vintage rugs in decent shape are hard to come by. But we weren't counting on the newly renovated QCumberz, a kinder, gentler place to shop, thanks to new owners who've reorganized and re-staffed the entire joint. We were surprised to find a half-dozen vintage rugs for sale, several in great shape and all priced to move. We settled on an all-wool, 1920s Clementine Souza rug with a Greek key pattern and most of its original fringe still in place. We got it for a song and had a nice chat with the friendly proprietor on our way out, promising to stop back in soon — and even if we don't need another rug, we'll be there!

Best Antique Store to Buy Jewelry for Your Girlfriend

Rare Lion Antiques & Jewelry

As pop star Neil Sedaka stated in his 1962 hit, breaking up is hard to do. Especially when there are so many ways to win your way back into the affections of your paramour. There are flowers, expensive gifts, heartfelt apologies, and good old-fashioned begging. If you're hoping that jewelry will do the trick, definitely go talk to Michelle Francis over at Rare Lion in Tempe. The antique shop owner has a particular knack for helping clueless Romeos pick out the perfect pendant or necklace as a making-up gift (or perhaps a birthday or Christmas present as well). Inside a pair of glass cases, Francis keeps a vast selection of bangles, baubles, and bracelets, all of which are of the vintage or antique variety. State what your gal's tastes are, and she'll use her sixth sense to figure out what her heart desires most, like maybe a cute pair of marcasite earrings. If things go your way, bub, she also stocks a variety of gorgeous rings that might be aces when popping the question.
We waited 'til the last minute to buy an Easter gift for a friend of ours who collects jadite, that pretty pale green glassware that was so popular in the 1930s (and has been co-opted by Martha Stewart in recent years). We figured, jadite is hot right now, and there's a ton of it out there and it'll be easy to find! We were wrong. And Easter was nigh. After driving around for hours, from one antique shop to the next, we finally landed at Antique Marketplace, located now in its new, cool, and ever-expanding digs at Seventh Avenue and Osborn. We wept to Marketplace owner Joel about our jadite woes, and he got on the horn and, before you could say "old rare dishware!" he'd found a dealer who was selling a really nice handled jadite Fire King toothpaste tumbler. While Joel was on the phone, we wandered around and noticed that Marketplace offers a lot of stuff we never see at other antique shops. Like a whole case full of fully restored vintage telephones. And a gold-rimmed Jeannette glass bowl that we haven't seen anywhere other than on eBay. And a shelf full of vintage seltzer dispensers in every shade of blue. Clearly, this is the best place to find that rare collectible you're looking everywhere for.
Why can't every thrift store in town be like Flo's? We have to keep reminding ourselves, when we shop here, that we're in a second-hand shop — because the merchandise is all so upscale and everything is so neatly displayed and organized. But the prices remind us, every time. Fine china for a fraction of what you'd pay new (or at any local antique shop, for that matter); flatware and window treatments and throw rugs — and all of it either new or new-ish. Vast racks of like-new clothing, all of it laundered and pressed and looking and smelling as good as new. And while we'd never accuse Flo of swiping anything, we wonder where all those rows of brand new shoes (men's and women's!) came from — all priced at a steal!
People who hoard — whether it be inexpensive designer duds or cool old books and records — flock to this not-for-profit treasure trove way out on the west side. On our last trip, we found a first-edition John Irving novel, a pair of still-sealed Dean Martin record albums, and an honest-to-gosh Ralph Lauren dinner jacket, and paid less than 30 bucks for the whole bundle. The friendly, more-than-helpful staff here are always willing to help shoppers find what they're looking for and have even been overheard hinting at when all the best sales happen and the new stock goes out. No wonder people all over the land live surrounded by giant piles of their belongings, so many of them procured from Peoria's clean, well-stocked Goodwill store.
We shouldn't admit this, but we've lately become obsessed with vintage glassware. Pressed-glass punch bowls; gold-rimmed Jeannette Glass fruit bowls; Depression glass, and anything Anchor Hocking — we can't get enough. And we're blaming Sun Health Resale Shop for fueling our addiction, because we find more old hostess sets and 1950s foil-trimmed Chas Hall tumblers here than in most other thrift stores around — and believe us, we've been to them all! Our last haul included a Libbey Glass cocktail set from 1946 (still in the box), and a shoebox full of crystal highball glasses etched with our initial on them — what are the chances? They're greater at this great place for turning up glassware treasures.
Located on Main Street in Mesa, this thrift store not only offers funky cool finds, it does good for the local community. The store was never meant for the public. It was created as a place for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault to shop, free of charge. But with so many donations and knocks on the door from residents wanting to shop, Eclectic Monkey swung open its doors to all. Be sure to head all the way to the back to visit the man cave, filled with bike and car parts and hip menswear. The ladies have their own space, too, filled with vintage dresses, round couches, and a chandelier.

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