clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Checking in on The Successful Vintage Market in a Parking Garage

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

Each month, The Vintage Garage keeps getting bigger, better, strengthening the bond between Uptown and vintage goods. This comes at a time when The Vintage Bizarre has gained a large enough foothold in the vintage community all over the city to partner with fancy jazz like the Renegade Craft Fair, and still find a permanent home a few blocks south of the parking structure for The Vintage Garage's parking structure.

This is a tremendous summer growth spurt for Vintage in the quasi-ghettotastic neighborhood (Harry Osterman's turf) surrounding Broadway at Argyle. And The Vintage Garage seems to know how it works. Example: this past weekend's Vintage Garage included several food trucks and a little corporate appearance by Nissan--and it got us thinking, what is it that brings people in here?

With an attitude for exploration of this topic we show up to the garage and talk to a four ballsy vendors from around the Midwest about their lives, the universe of old stuff and journeys to find love...

As confusing as parking structures are we seem to find the folks we set out for: Gregory Klein, Charles Bachmann, Stephanie Estrada and Kirby Magnes (well not really Kirby, more like her sexy boyfriend).

So we make our way over to Greg Klein, a silly young man with a striped shirt, a little scruff and an affection for steampunk. He lives half-time in Michigan and half-time in Chicago, working with Rush with ambitions of opening a small shop in Fennville, Michigan. The name of his soon-to-be-shop: Metal, Metal, Metal. Greg rocks a booth at an antique mall in vacation country (Pure Michigan) with an array of his makes and finds, (best sellers are cookie cutter keychains). He jokes with us about the industry gossip that circles about amongst vendors and how other vendors follow his lead, mimicking his aesthetic. "One week it's keychains, the next week it's bedazzled toilet seat necklaces," he jokes. Lately he's been into putting random objects together and wiring them as lamps, as a steampunk creative. "I come here to sell my stuff and to find a date... he should have a mustache and a three wheeled bike."

Charles Bachmann of Columbus, Ohio loads up his vehicle for the exclusive Chicago showing each month and makes his way across the region just for the Vintage Garage. They deal in quite a bit of great Mid Century and after 30 years in the business, you bet your britches he has his sources nailed down. We ask him about the coolest thing he's ever had pass though his hands and he tells us the story of the 1972 E-Type Jaguar. With a heart wrenching swoon, he gushes over the car that he bought in a town outside of Columbus. With an extremely limited edition of 1500 for 4 years, he puts the car up for sale and quickly sells it to a guy who fully restored it, living in Keswald, Switzerland. If you're over in Columbus or any of those cray Ohio cities, you can catch Bachman at the upcoming Art, Design & Antique Market invitational at The Columbus Art Museum on the 27th.

[Stephanie lounging with her "man associate"]

And then there's Miss Stephanie Estrada. She's coming to market from the online scene with super great decor. Though her favorite items are these raging stallion horse lamps, she admits to us her best selling category are vintage containers. Though she won't totally divulge her secret for finding such pristine old English tea canisters and the like, she says lot of the stuff she finds at estate sales featured online. We ask her what the most "fabulous" piece she's ever sold was and she says, what we call in 'the industry', a gout stool. It's a stool somebody with gout uses to lift their leg just a little. Somebody in Massachusetts bought it.

We see some exotic parrot-print fabric on folding director's chairs. Lo and behold this is Kirby Magnes' booth she runs with her smokin' hot boyfriend, Ryan. Dwellers of Old Town and graduates of Cooper Union the young couple has only been slinging the oldies since April, but is obviously seeing success. Since Kirby is currently on a wild Zephyr/car road trip to California, we ask Ryan what the most bizarre thing they've ever sold was as he describes an ashtray inlayed into cement with a coral/underwater scene and a sterling silver horse swimming in it. A couple named Loraine and Simon from Richmond VA bought it and have since stayed abreast with the outsider art and freak collections of Kirby and Ryan.
· All Vintage Garage Coverage [Racked]

The Vintage Garage Chicago

5051 N Broadway, Chicago IL