Sometimes we get stuff in the mail that is too good (well,... Enter Now
Now open: Modern Farm, The Misc. Trading Co.
If you want to see how downtown revitalization really happens, forget sitting in on a city council meeting. Instead, just get out on the street.
For instance: Tuolumne Street, just off Fulton where two businesses recently opened in the Warnor’s Theatre Complex. In January, Michael Maniquiz opened Modern Farm, where he sells a collection of vintage mid-century modern furniture, and just last week Álvaro Romero opened The Misc. Trading Co., which sells vintage and reclaimed goods and focuses on sustainable consumption.
The shops are part of a recent uptick of activity in the area. In December, Fresno Brewing Company opened just across Tuolumne on the Fulton Mall and earlier this week Twee Boutique owner Melanie Davis announced the hand-made good shop will relocate from the Tower District. The shop is scheduled to have its grand-opening in the Warnor’s complex April 5.
Here's more on the new shops:
It started with a couch, a contemporary leather thing that Mike Maniquiz and his wife bought new for $800. When Maniquiz tried to sell it three years later, he couldn't get rid of the thing. He even posted it on Craigslist for $150 and got no takers. Eventually, it went to the Salvation Army.
Contrast that to the mid-century modern chair he bought for $250 and sold six months later for $400. And that chair was 30 years old.
"And we thought, we've got something here," says Maniquiz, who lectures in the English department at California State University, Fresno. He runs Modern Farm from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and by appointment, selling mostly from the furniture he and his wife have collected over the years at prices that are "$50 less than what you'd pay in Los Angeles." This is the real deal, vintage stuff and not some imitation of it, he says. The shop also carries local art from Richard Silva and Stan Bitters.
"Fresno is very conventional in their art, in their furniture. You go to Clovis and ask what sells and they says, 'oak,' " Maniquiz says. "I get more positive reactions than sales."
But the store is an experiment of sorts, he says, so that's OK.
"We collectors are always collecting."
The Misc. Trading Co.
It took Álvaro Romero less than two weeks to open The Misc. Trading Co., from inception to conception, he says. The store, which opened last Thursday, is a mismatched collection of vintage clothing, reclaimed furniture and art. It is a stark contrast of gallery-white walls, old wood and rust.
"Everything is resale. Everything is made from reclaimed materials," says Romero, a graphic designer who recently returned from living in the Bay area. Prior to opening the store, he had worked with Urban Upcycle on Olive Avenue in the Tower District. The move allows him to focus on fashion and art and hand-made goods, what he calls sustainable consumption.
On display in the shop now is work from Michael Aguilar, who created all of the store's shelving from found and reclaimed materials.
He was drawn to the Warnor's complex because of the growth of similar businesses in the area, including Twee and Urban Salvage (just down a few blocks on Broadway St.) and is eager to see the synergy of the area come together.
"It great to be surrounded by this kind of entrepreneurial spirit."