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There's a treasure trove of home goods on Valencia Street. To the uninitiated, it may seem a little cluttered and, perhaps, a little daunting, but just a couple of steps inside you'll find a store filled with modern vintage delights. It's Stuff, SF's very own version of the Paris Flea Market.
Co-owners Will Lenker and James Spinello opened the store in 2011 to give the city a fun and hip shopping destination—with free parking to boot. "We wanted to do something bigger and better than what we had already done before," James tells Racked SF. Sure enough, the two went above and beyond, earning Stuff a Racked Award for home goods shopping in the process.
Will and James are old hat at working together since they first started 20 years ago, simultaneously as romantic and professional partners. Will grew up with a passion for all things vintage; together they manned a store called Aunt Bill's Collectibles in Rockridge throughout the 90s. When the opportunity came around to open in the Mission, Will and James took the plunge. The duo transformed a 17,000-square-foot space into a store that they would love to shop as customers.
Will's focus for the store was to create a fun shopping experience, and he thoughtfully planned for good music, a clean environment, and a helpful staff. Today, more than 60 independent vendors sell their wares there. Will, James, and their staff man the shop while the sellers scout antiques and vintage products. The store is open seven days a week, year-round, from 10am to 9pm. "Will and I are in here together to work the holiday shifts," James says.
Even when they're working holidays, the pair enjoys surprising customers with the store's whimsical flourishes. "People tell us that the [second floor] restroom is the only one in SF that they have to use," James tells Racked SF with equal parts pride and mischief. (I won't spoil it for the uninitiated, but I can vouch that it's worth a visit.) These special touches are all part of the plan to lure a younger crowd to shop along with the older generation of regulars. James recalls a conversation he overheard at a nearby restaurant when a mother told her daughter that she wanted to take her into Stuff. "The store is a connection between the generation," James says. "Some people even find things here that they broke as kids and give them to their parents."
Stuff's mantra is be who you are, express yourself, and find what it is that speaks to you. Whether you're at the beginning or the end of the furnishing spectrum, a visit is sure to add charm and unexpected details to your home and expression of self. If one day's search is for naught, the next day's presents new opportunities to live out the store's mantra. So check in often (or online) and score new stuff.
· Stuff [Official Site]
· Racked Awards 2014 [Racked SF]