Racks of graphic T-shirts, sparkly crystals and cheeky trinkets from past generations are on display at Pierce College.
Thanks to the Topanga Vintage Market, aisles of unique treasures wait to be discovered by potential customers as shoppers sift through timeless artifacts.
The market meets on the fourth Sunday of every month in Parking lot 7.
Lori Rotblat, cofounder of the Topanga Vintage Market, said the market originated at the Westfield Promenade about seven years ago, but changed location in recent years, finding its home at Pierce College.
“We got so big and busy the Promenade wanted us to go, because we were taking up too many parking spaces so we found Pierce as a our lovely host,” Rotblat said. “We really hope that it raises the profile of Pierce College, because Pierce is a gift to the San Fernando Valley and we are happy to be helping with the school.”
She said the market gives people the opportunity to connect with items from the past.
“The vintage market and the scene of loving and finding and really enjoying vintage is very much in vogue especially in Los Angeles,” Rotblat said. “And what we are doing here is not only having people walk down and find their own memories, but there is a whole new generation that realizes that things that were made in the 30s, 40s, 50’s and 60s had a real quality.”
Cultivating a place of culture gives a sense familiarity to the community.
“This market is like a huge celebration for the vendors and the shoppers,” Rotblat said. “The feeling is like a large block party. People come once a month and enjoy the experience of seeing pieces of their own past. They walk down the aisles and remember things when they were young.”
Shelton Hyunh, a vendor, said he enjoys selling at Pierce, because the atmosphere is intimate and the convenience of having the market in his neighborhood.
“I’ve had the chance to talk to a lot of people, and it feels local. A lot of people are from around here – this city or that city – not too far from here,” Hyunh said. “The Rose Bowl is totally opposite so almost 90 percent are tourists or travellers so it’s smaller here. I like this one. That’s the difference between all the other markets.”
Matteo Gilardelli, a vendor, said the Topanga Vintage Market is unlike most marketplaces.
“We do the Alameda Market, San Francisco, we do Rose Bowl, we do Long Beach – those are crazy, huge markets so this is very chill, calm, nothing crazy,” Gilardelli said.
Rotblat said customers enjoy the process of negotiating with vendors.
“An open marketplace is the oldest business in the world so the bartering gives shoppers the chance to really find something and get it at a good price,” Rotblat said.
Rotblat said due to the long winter break, the market stays closed, but they try to remain open as often as they can throughout the rest of the year.
“We are usually dark in December, because it falls right around Christmas so we are January through November,” Rotblat said. “And If there are five Sundays, we are always on the fourth.”