by Susan Custis, Vintage Fusion
It’s that time, again…time to fuel up the faithful ‘woodie’ and hit the vintage road! Here in Florida, our weather is beautiful, the snowbirds (and tourists) are back, and high season is in full swing in Southwest Florida, where our travels take us for this edition of Vintage Finds Magazine. Here we explore some really unique shops and markets. So, why do we love vintage shopping so very much?
Here are our 10 top reasons:
The excitement of the hunt
It’s easy to find
There’s a history, or story, behind each thing
They don’t make stuff the way they used to
It’s often ‘one-of-a-kind’
Since it’s survived…it’s quality
It’s thrifty and often a real bargain
It’s a way to experience a way of life through ‘what was’
What is vintage today was once brand new
Vintage spans decades and design genres
We start our exploration in Pinellas County at Antique Marketplace at Bay Area Auction Services at 8010 US Highway 19 N., in Pinellas Park. Here we found 2 separate businesses – the Marketplace and the Auction Services. Established 20 years ago, the mall and auction services are housed in the old Tingler’s Furniture Store with the mall in what was the showroom and the auction services in the former warehouse. The Marketplace is open 7 days a week. On auction days, customers can flow between the auction house and marketplace. In the marketplace, we found over 80 dealers whose wares were displayed in booths and locked showcases featuring everything from true antiques to mid-century modern to ‘80s collectibles. Prices range from $1 to well into the $1,000s, offering something for collectors at every level. Nancy and the friendly staff at Antique Marketplace take pride in creating a welcoming environment and offering exceptional customer service in helping shoppers find that perfect addition to a collection or fill a special decorating need.
Back in the woodie, we head to Manatee County, where we find Blessed and Distressed at 615 59th Street W, in Bradenton. Here they offer a most unique array of handcrafted, upcycled, and repurposed merchandise carefully and elegantly displayed. Over 30 local vendors and artists work together to create a mix of quirky, eclectic, elegant offerings in a ‘happy place’ where everyone is welcome and customers are readily engaged in a unique shopping experience to find ‘something new that is old’. Their offerings include the work of some of Bradenton’s top artists. Other offerings include jewelry and handmade upcycled clothing, including redesigned denim and clothing made from vintage fabrics (whether old clothing, curtains, tablecloths, etc.) into one-of-a kind designs for today’s lifestyle. Those in search of mid-century and shabby chic are certain to find something special here. They also offer Fusion paint. With several chefs among the staff and vendors, a ‘sip and shop’ at Blessed and Distressed is not to be missed.
Still in Manatee County, we head down to road to the oldest fishing village in Florida, Cortez, where we find the Sea Hagg. Sea Hagg? What a crazy name, except that owner, Jan, says it was the best thing they ever did because folks come in just to see what’s behind the name. Once inside, you’ll find floor to ceiling one-of-a-kind nauticals, antiques, gifts, coastal décor, and…well, curiosities. With 25 years of experience finding and selling the most unique and best in nautical items, the Sea Hagg is well-known for offering authentic items from ships, ships’ salvage, and treasure made by local artists. Mermaids are a favorite, and the Sea Hagg has sold them long before they became so popular. Here you’ll find figureheads and older mermaids. At the Sea Hagg, they have local artists that specialize in ugly mermaids… warts, missing teeth, messy hair, and all. The staff at Sea Hagg have also used their love of nautical and their unique merchandise to decorate numerous restaurants, as well as homes, condos, and offices. Some years ago during their second year in business, a Sarasota newspaper conferred on them the “A Place You’ve Driven By a Million Times and Finally Decided to Stop” award. The road they are on has over 40,000 cars travel it each and every day. Hot tip: Octopus is very popular right now. They can’t keep them in.
Our next stop is in Lee County at Paradise Vintage Market, at 5100 S. Cleveland Ave, in Fort Myers. Open 7 days a week with over 25,000 sq feet and over 110 vendors, here we find merchandise that focuses on Florida life and reflects the Florida vintage past. Managing partner, Beth, describes the southwest Florida as a Tommy Bahama, Margaritaville, tiki bar, mid-century modern, laid back lifestyle. At Paradise Vintage Market, they have a wide array of items to support what they actually call The Florida Vintage Lifestyle. You’ll find ‘sleek’, ‘streamlined’, ‘beach’, ‘fun’, ‘Florida colors of aqua and seafoam green’, etc…but vintage. They find that their customers have come to Florida, leaving behind colonial and victorian décor, for a new, more relaxed lifestyle that focuses on pool and beach time. The merchandise at Paradise Vintage Markets specializes in décor that accents that lifestyle, but the focus is on vintage. On the first Monday of the month, the Market sponsors a meet-up at a local restaurant where dealers and collectors can get together to hear guest speakers and learn about trends, collectibles, and what’s selling in southwest Florida. For information and to reserve a space, interested individuals should call Beth, at 239-362-38111.
While at Paradise Vintage Market, be sure to check out Elemental Art. The owner, Beth, has been collecting nature treasures since she was a kid. Guests at Elemental Art will find the largest selection of Florida fossils in southwest Florida, including mammoth teeth and fossil bones. Check out the large selection of metaphysical, polished stones and crystals, too. Quartz, tourmaline and unusual pieces for energy work, reiki and feng shui are an important part of their inventory. Complementing her love of rocks, is a background in paranormal tourism from her days in Kansas, and writing about it. Beth’s books include: Ghosts of Kansas, (Schiffer); Wichita Haunts (Arcadia); and a TV special Topek Plains Spirits (PBS KTWU, Topeka).
Our final stop of the day, still in Lee County, is Paris Market Antique Mall, at 1357 North Tamiami Trail, North Fort Myers. Now in their 7th year, they have refined their concept in offering the best in higher end items in over 6,000 square feet from 30 vendors whose wares are not only from Paris but from all over the world. The owner, Sandy, has over 33 years of experience in antiques both as an avid collector and dealer. As a collector who was retired and bored, she decided to leverage her knowledge and passion into creating a special destination shop that even locals frequent to find one-of-a-kind, high-end treasures. Their offerings include carefully curated estate pieces and wonderful discoveries from folks in transition. Daily new arrivals offer a reason to come back often. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram where they frequently post pictures called “Daily Inspiration”. These pictures provide fabulous ideas on how the items they sell can be used to create truly elegant rooms.
Once more, we had a fabulous day of shopping. The woodie is loaded with things large and small, from that which is nautical and from the sea to things ‘earthy’ that were dug up in the dirt; from the casual to the elegant; from clothing to home décor and so much more. So, wait!!! There are actually many more than just 10 reasons why we love vintage … we can go on and on.
By Meg & Rich, rufflesandoveralls.com
Spring is the time for all things new, fresh, and clean. What better way to showcase that than in our homes? These 3 easy ways to refresh your home will have you feeling ready for spring in no time.
Add Plants - Nothing adds more movement and life to a space than plants. Whether you have a green thumb or prefer faux greenery, adding plants will make your home feel ready for spring instantly. Don't stop there, add some vintage charm to your home by placing your plants in vintage vessels. There are endless possibilities for what you can use to add your own personal touch. It doesn't have to cost a lot. Shop your home for a vessel you can re-purpose, or buy something that catches your eye at a flea market, thrift shop, or antique mall.
Some vessels to consider are stoneware crocks, old tins, silver champagne buckets, brass planters, buckets, baskets, or pitchers. Stick with spring colors for a light and airy look.
Group your Collections - "Outer order contributes to inner calm." - Gretchen Ruben
Grouping collections together of a certain type or color scheme will instantly give your shelves a cleaner, more organized appearance. Your decor will look more calm and peaceful, giving you a fresh spring vibe.
These terra cotta pots look so much better when they are displayed together. They add continuous splashes of fresh spring color to the entryway.
Vintage collections of blue glass and enamelware, as well as brass, adorn these shelves styled for spring. Grouped together, these collections look neater than they would if they were displayed randomly.
Edit your Space - Editing your space is my best tip for creating a fresh, spring vibe in your home. Think like a minimalist. It's not always easy to do, but I find when I choose to showcase only my favorite pieces of furniture or decor it gives them the room they need to shine.
Here are some of my favorite edited down spring spaces in my home.
"Edit your life frequently and ruthlessly. It's your masterpiece, after all." -Nathan W. Morris
No matter what your style is, adding some plants to your home, grouping your collections together, and editing your space are sure to give your home a nice, clean look for spring. It's a great way to set yourself up for a fresh start in the new year!
Follow Meg and Rich of Ruffles and Overalls on Facebook and Instagram. Read their latest blog at ruffleandoveralls.com and visit them at
Vintage Roots Market Mar 25 & 26 at Yesteryear Village, West Palm Beach, Fl.
by Susan Custis, Vintage Fusion
‘Tis the season for decking the halls and readying for the new year. ‘Tis the season…for spending time with family and friends…for cooking and feasting…for searching for the perfect gifts. And that means, ‘tis the season for shopping for all things vintage! When we shop vintage, we support our small businesses, buy things that have proven to be lasting, and find the ultimate in a unique, thoughtful gift. All of the Vintage Finds Magazine purveyors of vintage have gone all out to offer the most unique in vintage décor to get your home ready for the holidays, as well as many other treasures, large and small, that are sure to please everyone on your holiday gift list. So, we empty the faithful woodie, add a wreath to the front hood ornament in tribute to the season, and hit the road once again in search of the best in vintage.
What can you expect to find when you shop ‘vintage’? Once was if you heard folks deep in conversation about the best vintage they’d be talking about bottles of wine. Wines that carry a vintage year were produced from grapes from a single year, hence ‘single vintage’.
Now days, folks deep in conversation about great vintage might also be talking about the increasingly popular trends in home décor where ‘vintage’ can refer to either the time in which a piece of furniture or other decorating item was manufactured or the ever popular Vintage style of decorating. In the latter case, items thought of as vintage are recognizable and of enduring interest, attractive in design, and of good quality. The popularity of vintage extends far beyond home décor to include jewelry, fashion, and collectibles.
When the term ‘vintage’ is used to reference a period of time, an item is generally considered vintage if it is older than 20 years, but not older than 100 years at which point it is considered an antique. The rise in popularity of decorating with vintage pieces or in the vintage style blends a nostalgia for the past with the affordability and trends to reuse, repurpose, and recycle pre-owned furniture and household items. There’s nothing more fun than the ‘wow’ moment of a flea market find that might set the tone or guide the design for an entire room.
Vintage, when referred to as a style of decorating, is generally attributed to using the designs of the 1940s and 1950s, whether in reference to original pieces or to items that are newly manufactured but created to look like they hail from that period. Certain decorating styles, such as Rustic, Farmhouse, Country, and ‘Shabby Chic’ often blur with Vintage decorating with the addition of older pieces of the same style, or newer pieces deliberately designed to look old, incorporated into room design and décor. However, vintage home accents, jewelry, and clothing are also in high demand. And, with Christmas as a holiday filled with memories and traditions, shopping for unique vintage holiday items can be especially exciting when you discover that unexpected, yet perfect, addition to your holiday ornament, tabletop, linens, and other Christmas themed collections.
For this edition, we visited shops in Hillsborough County. We start in Valrico at Gather & Seek Vintique, located at 2609 SR 60 East. Here there is over 3,500 square feet of shopping delight showcasing the wares of 11 vendors. Many are local artists whose talents range from woodworking to sewing in a variety of styles from farmhouse to country to primitives, and more. Part ‘vintique’ and part ‘boutique’, at Gather & Seek we also found a great selection of specially curated gift items, including new jewelry, soaps, potpourri, cards, and so much more, and they can gift wrap that special item, too. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram to find their special classes and events, including a pop-up market held outside on the second Saturday of every month, from 9 to 4, where you’ll find still more unique offerings from local vendors. If that’s not enough, they also paint furniture, hold fundraisers to support the local community. They also make ‘loaded teas’ and protein drinks to go. Although their address is on SR 60, they are just off the highway. Look for them on the east side of Steak & Shake. While they are a bit hard to find, it’s worth the search. Once you find Gather & Seek, ‘come in and take a peek’.
While in Valrico, you don’t want to miss Ragamuffin Outpost, located at 1040 Bloomingdale Avenue. This charming shop started from the owner’s love of paint and painting. She said, at first, she’d ‘slap a little paint’ here and there on treasures in her own home, but soon found friends and others loved how her works of art turned out. Soon they became a premier Dixie Belle retailer. What makes them different is that they will provide one-on-one advice to guide you through your project. You can buy paint for your DIY project, or commission them to do it for you. They also offer small classes once or twice a month. At Ragamuffin Outpost, they take pride in supporting local artists and family businesses, noting that every product they sell supports ‘something’, a family business, or a charity. In addition to painting furniture, they also paint signs. They also carry a large array of boutique, home décor, and craft items, including candles, soaps, towels, tumblers, coasters, and books to name a few things. At Ragamuffin Outpost, they take pride in knowing their customers and creating a family environment.
On we go to the Rustic Door Décor & More, located at 788 W. Lumsden Road in Brandon (with another location at 367 Lynx Paw Trail in Valrico). Here we found a really cute decor shop with a country and farmhouse flair. The merchandise is beautiful, and the prices are great. They also host community events and neighborhood markets. This shop is filled with TONS of wonderful finds! You’ll find custom furniture that’s beautiful and exceptionally well made. More than half of the store merchandise is handmade items of what is trending as well as vintage, unique items. Both locations offer Wise Owl Paint and the Brandon location is an Elite Dixie Belle Retailer. Follow them on Facebook and check out their ad in VFM.
Once again, our trek down the vintage road has been a huge shopping success. We made our list, checked it twice, and found everything on it and more! With the woodie overflowing with our ‘wow’ treasures, we head home for the holidays to get ready for the holiday merriment and cheer. To the readers of Vintage Finds Magazine and those who follow us on the vintage road, we wish you the Merriest Christmas ever and blessings for a safe, healthy, and prosperous 2022!!!!
Hit the Vintage Road - Thank you to our roving reporter, Susan Custis for hitting the road and sharing these fabulous shops. Be sure to stop by Susan’s shop Vintage Fusion, located at 7720 N. Wickham Rd., #107 Suntree, Fl. Boardwalk at Suntree Plaza, between Cotton Candy Kids Hair Salon and Dynasty Nails. Look for the purple bench! Stay tuned for our next issue to see where THE VINTAGE ROAD leads us!
Hi I'm Kathy, owner of Vintage Finds Magazine. I hope you enjoy these vintage shops and markets.