Thursday, August 25, 2011

Remembering Trivet's Antiques In Cincinnati

Once upon a time in downtown Cincinnati there was this really great store called Trivet's Antiques and Boutique. This was a store like no other. From the outstide it looked like just about any other junk store you find in most big cities. However, you just had to walk through the door to immediatley realize you had stumbled upon something very, very unique. Inside the place was filled with 100% vintage clothes from the early to mid 70's. I mean, the place was just brimming over with stuff. There was so much stuff that even though I was there three times (for about three hours each visit), I still don't think that I saw everything.

The store had three floors (I didn't even know about the top floor until years later).

The main floor consisted of hat, belts, jewelry, watch bands, toe socks, and the best thing shoes. Oh my God, the shoes! On your way back to the shoe area, there was a glass case with several pairs of shoes. There was a sign on the case that stated, 'shoes in case not for sale.' Words cannot describe these shoes. Lots, and lots for totally cool vintage, never worn platform shoes. I couldn't believe my eyes. Then, in the actual shoe room, there was another large glass case filled with even more pairs of shoes. Not to mention all of the other pairs of shoes just sitting around. I didn't know where to begin shopping.

The basement was the real treasure trove. Down there on three rows of about three cafeteria tables each were thousands of pairs of vintage bell bottoms. I mean these jeans were on the tables. Below the tables and even hanging above the tables. Everywhere I looked there were clothes. Shirts lined the walls. Not just any shirts. Several of those beautiful embroidered denim shirts. This place was just amazing. And everything was 100% brand new and never worn. Even better, everything was being sold for what it was tagged for in the 70s. Vintage, never worn pants could be had for as little as $5.95 a pair! Unbelievable!

As to the top floor, I don't know what was up there since I never visited it. I heard it was filled with antiques but I don't know.

I first heard of Trivet's in 1994. One of my co-workers knew about it and knew my fondness for wearing vintage 70s clothes. So, one Saturday I made the two hour drive from Indianapolis on my first pilgrimage to this wonderland. Once I got a look at the basement, I was in heaven. Eventually, I would make three trips to Trivet's and end up spending close to $1,500.00. It was certainly easy enough to do. I do admit, I went a little nuts. In fact, I still have all the pants and shirts that I bought there. When I got home with my treasures, I removed all of the tags (I even saved a few) and washed everything in cold water with Woolite and line dried them. This is a practice that I still do to this very day. It's my way of preservng the clothes.

So, how did this little store happen upon all of this wonderful stuff? As for the pants and shirts, the story I heard was that the owners bought a warehouse from the store chain, The Bottom Half, when it went out of business. In the warehouse were boxes and boxes of unopened bell bottom and shirts. From there, they moved them to the store and sold them for whatever they were tagged. Where the shoes, jewelry and other accessories came from, I don't know. I never asked.

In 1995 I moved to California, taking all of those clothes with me but I never forgot about Trivet's. Over the years, I thought about returning to the store to buy more jeans since the ones that I had I could no longer wear. Once I hit 30, I gained a bit of weight and my 28 inch waist was a thing of the past. Sadly, the store closed sometime in 2000. It reopened at a new location in 2003. Then, a mere five years later, it closed again in 2008. At this time, it looks like Trivet's is once and for all gone. It just breaks the heart to think that all of those wonderful clothes are just gone. Not to mention those gorgeous shoes.

Until recently. I happened to be shopping on eBay one day and to my shock and amazement, there was someone selling a pair of shoes that were very familiar. In fact, they were a pair of shoes that I had bought at Trivet's long ago. This is the pair that I ran across:

The listing said they were purchased at a recent estate sale, and the seller listed their location as Southern Ohio. To me that just screamed Cincinnati! As I checked out the sellers other items, I discovered that there were 17 pairs of vintage 70s shoes for sale. I was floored! As I carefully looked at each and every pair of the shoes, I knew that these were the shoes from Trivet's. Not only that, they were the shoes that used to be in the glass cases. How did I know this? Well, for one thing, I remembered two particualr pairs that I really wanted. In fact these two pairs:

Another really big clue was each listing gave a pictures of the shoes from jus about every angle. Including the bottom. On the bottom of some of the shoes was a very distinctive clue. Several were marked 'not for sale.' Like in this picture:

After seeing that, there was no question in my mind that these shoes were from Trivet's. So, I bid and won the two pairs of shoes that I had my eye on in the case all those years ago. They just arrived today and are just a beautiful as I remember them. They will look great setting next to my other pairs of Trivet's shoes.

The shoes in this picture that I bought at Tirvet's are the top two pairs, the black pair with the fake snakeskin, the next two pairs and the bottom left pair with the stars on the toes.

So, now I will have eight pairs of shoes from Trivet's.

Finally, just for fun, here are pictures of the rest of the shoes from Trivet's that were recently on eBay. Enjoy. Now the only question is, what happened to those thousands of bell bottoms? The world may never know.