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.














27 comments:

Chris Manning said...

Thanks for posting! When my band Jellyfish was on tour in Ohio in 91 some fans told us to go to Trivets. We did. And I will say that your description above matches exactly what it looked like. I bought the knee-high red, black and white patchwork boots and wore them in videos and on stage at hundreds of shows. Trivets!!!!
-Chris

Merkle said...

What was the sellers name?? I would love to find some goodies leftover from Trivet's. That was absolutely the best place to shop in Cincinnati!!!

NightKitchenQueen said...

As you might be aware, Trivet's original location was on 4th Street in Cincinnati. It began as a legitimate antiques store, then in the mid-60s, owner Walter Johnson began adding items that appealed to hippies and proto-hippies -- myself among them. :-) To a suburban teen, it was as if some of Haight-Ashbury had transplanted itself to sleepy Cincy. Once the 4th Street location was crammed to the gills and urban renewal overtook it, Walter moved to the Race Street location; and Trivet's only got better. I still miss it.

rseller said...

Loved this place!, remember the blacklight poster room in the basement? It was a true original. Would have made a great museum...

wyman said...
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wyman said...

I heard the store has moved to a smaller location in cincy?

wyman said...
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wyman said...

Is the store still open somewhere in cincy? I heard it was but on a smaller scale

Mr Uts N Hoj said...

Awesome. I used to wander through Trivet's in the early/mid 80s while going to UC. Stopped in around '91 and did some shopping for a "70s party" being thrown in Chicago. Funny to see the comment from the member of Jellyfish. I saw Jellyfish open for World Party at the Vic in Chicago in September 1990. Evidently that was just prior to their visit to Trivet's. But they were definitely sporting some 70s style duds.

Jaclyn said...

Thanks for this! Wonderful post on Trivet's. I was struggling this afternoon, trying to remember the name of this magical store "that time forgot". I haunted it whenever the opportunity arose; took friends from out of town proudly showing off the infinite magic of this space. I still regret not buying the 100$ stained glass wooden church window fron an abandoned Ohio church... I can still feel the spirit of the place, even if the name of it might escape me.

Jaclyn said...
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Ricky'sman said...

Sadly, I don't remember the sellers name.

As for the store still being open, no it finally closed its doors for good in 2008. Gone forever but not forgotten.

Top Hat Entertainment said...

WOW - I was just thinking of this place - I lived in NO. KY from 1989-1995 and once I found this mecca of the 60s/70s I was hooked! I too had clothes from there...just a fascinating place to be. Man, that's too bad they're gone...it was a downtown Cinti icon! It should've been on the historical register...!!!

Woedan said...

I remember they had a pair of gold plated boots with a plaque that stated the boots were worn by James Dean in Rebel without a cause.

Woedan said...
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timothy sullivan said...

Great blog. In 1972 we found the store walked in and freaked out it was great. And there was no end to the amount of stuff in that store. Good stuff GREAT STUFF I still have a grim reaper statue and witchcraft items we bought there and used. We loved Trivet's Thanks for the flash back !!! Tim Sullivan of cincinnati

Tony Longhair said...

I worked there briefly, as did my brother. Amazing place. Security was almost a lost cause.

barbara said...

I still have my puzzle ring and my PRIZE possession, the Haight Ashbury wooden street sign from the upper floor where Walter allowed us to go shopping!!! OH MY!

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

this just made my night! I used to live in Cinti from 1996 to 1998 and loved this place. Your description in perfect. I saw Crosby from Stills and Nash shopping there once. I loved those cases of platform shoes (works of art!) and once asked to take pics and someone said I was not allowed.

Dale Monroe said...

In the late 60s, early 70s, when Trivets was on 4th street, my fathers office was across 4th at Cincinnati Bell. He told me (no joke) the FBI used his office to watch who came and went from Trivets. Of course I was someone they were watching if that really was true.

Dale Monroe said...

In the late 60s, early 70s, when Trivets was on 4th street, my fathers office was across 4th at Cincinnati Bell. He told me (no joke) the FBI used his office to watch who came and went from Trivets. Of course I was someone they were watching if that really was true.

Dale Monroe said...

In the late 60s, early 70s, when Trivets was on 4th street, my fathers office was across 4th at Cincinnati Bell. He told me (no joke) the FBI used his office to watch who came and went from Trivets. Of course I was someone they were watching if that really was true.

Ryan Klosterman said...

Try here...

5612 Carthage Ave
Cincinnati, OH 45212-1028
United States

+1 (513) 731-0031

Linda Brown said...

I'm attempting to find a current location for Trivets. The last address I found was the one Ryan Klosterman posted. I haven't had a chance to see if the store is at that location, but I did call the number. The young lady I spoke with said the number was not a valid one for Trivets and that she gets many calls asking about it. If anyone has any information, please post it. I'm a Musician from the Greater Cincinnati area and would like to visit the store, if it still exists.. Thank you so very much.

cathy said...

Hi my name is Cathy my uncle use to own trivets and I worked there from 80's to 2008. The store moved from Race street to Carthage Ave in Norwood in 2003. The store was closed in 2008 and everything was auctioned off. Alot of shops in Cincinnati bought items at auction. Talk of the Town in Reading bought some items. I could not Bring myself to go to auction, so I'm not sure who or where items went. You may call me to reminisce or if you have questions. Cathy 513-288-5949

Julie's Junque new and old said...

We may never see another store as unique as Trivets. Many re-sale and thrift stores try to re-create (at least to some extent), the feeling you got when you went into that place. It is sad that it is gone and that all of its merchandise too, but hopefully, it went to many great places. I own a resale shop (Julie's Junque) at 1902 Sutton Ave. in Cincinnati (straight up from Old Coney Island). Although I sell a lot of "usual" items, I carry vintage clothes and some of the types of other items that Trivets carried. I just wish I had my shop when they went out of business. I would have loved to acquire at least one half that store!