Walking into Throwback Junction I was met by co-owner Colette Prokopow sitting behind the counter made of reclaimed wood and metal with a countertop embellished with beer caps encased in epoxy. Perfect for her and partner Randy Lewis’ vintage shop with that seemingly has something for everyone. “Our merchandise pulls from the 60s,70s,80s,90s and Y2K.” says Prokopow,
“I personally like to be able to readily see things and not dig through racks,” she said. Apparent from the organized neat garment racks whose clothes were so pristine they belied their age.
And, not all the products are vintage actually. Some are carefully crafted and “picked with intention” from garage sales and then there are new items, such as the very popular band tees.
They have games, cassettes, vinyls, stickers, patches, sunglasses, jewelry and shoes.
There is a men’s section which isn’t seen in many vintage shops and children’s items such as a very cool toddler Grateful Dead sweatshirt. Another thing that sets the shop apart is their dressing rooms—a wonderful addition that takes the guesswork out of sizing.
“We want a fun and funky vibe,” says Prokopow, as sounds from Nirvana play throughout the store. “We’ve held some events in the store—live music and comedy so far.”
They will celebrate their first year of business on July first and it has gone better than expected.
She and business partner Lewis’ met through an acquaintance. Lewis had owned a different Throwback Junction in the Valley and closed shop due to the Covid crisis. Prokopow knew she wanted a vintage store—had been a thrifter since she was a teenager—and had just resigned from a 20 plus year career. It was an uncanny meeting for the both of them. Lewis is still working as a teacher but spends time in the shop as well as bringing his knowledge of the business. I asked Prokopow what advise she would give to Ventura College students who have a passion to start their own. “Do your research,” she quickly replies. She did hers online and followed other vintage shops that she liked to see what they were up to. “Also, know your product and pricing is key.”
They both knew they wanted a Main Street downtown Ventura location and looked at several vacant stores before just the right one opened up. Main Street rents can be pricey, but they found a building that was owned by the church next door and landed a reasonable deal.
Prior to opening the shop, Prokopow had been doing pop up events like fairs and craft shows and had developed a following. On May 6, they have reserved a booth at the Oxnard Spring Vintage Craft Fair at the Oxnard Historic Farm Park. She posts on social media twice a week and uses every opportunity to make their presence known. “Oh yes, and we’re dog friendly,” she says with a smile. Throwback Junction offers a 15 percent discount to VC students when they show their student ID.
They are open seven days a week 11-7 Monday through Friday and Saturday and Sunday 10-7.