Places where you can ‘take home a piece of your past’

Customer Edwin Watt searches for items to decorate a bar at Rooster's Relics Antiques. Dan Watson/The Signal

Rooster’s Relics Antiques is a trip back in time, just 20 minutes east of Valencia. 

Owner Rita Hood, born and raised in Saugus, is a corporate accountant.  Hood and her partner, Paul Monica, a teacher in Santa Clarita, opened Rooster’s Relics four years ago.

“Antiques are a great change from the corporate world I work in,” Hood said.

Owner Rita Hood, left, assists customer Edwin Watt as he searches for items to decorate a bar at Rooster’s Relics Antiques. Dan Watson/The Signal

The building used to be an old diner located on Bouquet Canyon Road. Now, you’ll find what used to serve as the walk-in refrigerator now serving as the “book room.”

There’s also a military room, a toy room, a dish room and a man-cave room, all displaying tidbits of the past and all for sale at retro prices. “We don’t go on Ebay and check prices — if we bought it cheap, we sell it cheap,” Hood said.

She comes by collecting naturally. “Dad collected railroad memorabilia — he must have had 30 railroad  lanterns,” Hood said. 

One of 12 children, Hood remembers summer vacations with her family as stopping at every roadside antique store. “It made me a lifetime collector, too,” she said. 

 Outside and surrounding the building are antique relics of the past, such as vintage car parts, road signs and a Big Boy hamburger statue. Down the isles are also modern reproductions of beer signs,  garden decorations and old fashioned gas pumps.

Customer Edwin Watt found Rooster’s Relics online and came looking for items to decorate a friend’s new bar. 

“This place has just what I was looking for,” Watt said, as he picked up a metal New Orleans Saints football team sign and asked Hood about any Bud Light advertising she might have.

“People come in and love the antiques on display here; sometimes, it’s like they can take home a piece of their past,” said Hood. 

Looking down from the wall in the main room is a male buffalo (bison) head mounted in the 1880s. His coat is a little worse for wear, but he seems to be smiling and right at home in the company of all the other vintage collectables.

 Rooster’s Relics Antiques is located at 29757 Bouquet Canyon Road, Santa Clarita.

COVID-19 hours are Thursday thru Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Gorman Antique Mall & Antiques on the Grapevine 

Antiques on the Grapevine owner Chuck McFate greets you at the door with his homemade concoction of alcohol, aloe and cypress essential oils to sanitize your hands.

Then, you’re free to roam the “4,000 square feet of a little bit of everything,” the motto at the Gorman Antique Mall & Antiques on the Grapevine in Gorman, just 30 minutes north of Castaic. 

Chuck McFate, owner of Antiques on the Grapevine displays a human skull he named “Howard” which was used for medical education classes and is on display among his LifeQuest crystals, fossils and meteorites at Antiques on the Grapevine in Gorman . Dan Watson/The Signal

 A little bit of everything is right, including lots of movie props and costumes, like the uniform Bradley Cooper wore in “American Sniper.” There are vintage tools, meteorites, African statues, housewares and sports memorabilia on display from 30 vendors and, should the need arise for an actual human skull, there’s one given the name “Howard,” who came to the mall from a medical school.

Native American artist Judy Adams is one of the original vendors. 

“My work is my art,” Adams said. “My feather work, turquoise and jewelry are Zuni and Navajo.”  “I think I was the second vendor here 25 years ago. This is a great place.” 

 Customer Brian Ridley made the trek up the Grapevine from Pasadena. “We wanted to take a drive and look for a good old antique store, we weren’t disappointed here,” Ridley said. 

Customer Brian Ridley of Pasadena wonders the isles as he examines vintage electric trains, fishing reels, vintage plates and bottles, coins and house wares on display at Antiques in the Grapevine in Gorman. 082220. Dan Watson/the Signal

 McFate bought the antique mall nine and a half years ago. Escrow closed on his 51st birthday.

“I’ve always loved old things,” McFate said. “I saw the store as a diamond in the rough when I happened in as a customer.” 

A U.S. Army veteran, McFate used his 34 years of experience as a field service tech for Hewlett Packard to make the place a destination of interesting antiques and collectables.

 The Gorman Antique Mall was open seven days a week, but due to COVID-19, in March the store changed its days and hours of operation to Friday thru Sunday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

 “Since the quarantine, business has been good,” McFate said. “People need to get out of their houses, whether you are heading north or south on the Grapevine, Gorman is the place to stretch your legs and get a bite.”

McFate awaits at 49744 Gorman Post Road in Gorman. He’ll be at the front door with a warm welcome and a cool “hand sanitizer cocktail” waiting at the door. 

Vintage Pleasures

Point your car 30 minutes west from Valencia, through the orange groves and past the fruit stands, and you’ll find Fillmore’s antique mall, Vintage Pleasures.

Norma Amaro has spent all her 70 years in Fillmore.  

She happened into an antique mall 28 years ago and said, “I want to do this.”  

Store owner, Norma Amaro displays vintage Fisher-Price toys from the 1970′ that are very popular now and available at Vintage Pleasure in Fillmore. 082820 Dan Watson/The Signal

Her husband sold his 1960s Chevrolet El Camino and gave her $20,000 to fire up her goal to rent space in the antique mall on Central Avenue in Fillmore.

Eighteen years later, she bought the adjoining building next door, a brick building built in 1912.

She now offers space to 20 vendors who sell their antiques and collectables in her antique mall. 

Metal artist Jim Bowser is one of them. Bowser repurposes old metal objects into works of art.   Vintage washing machine tubs are decorated with horses, pine trees and mountain scenes to become portable fire pits.

Metal work by Jim Bowser, cut from vintage hand sawa are very popular items available at Vintage Pleasure in Fillmore. 082820 Dan Watson/The Signal

“It’s been great for me. I’ve sold five or six fire pits, and probably 100 handsaws since I started at the store about a year ago,” he said. Old metal springs, gears, horseshoes and vintage hand saw blades serve as a canvas for his plasma cutter and become artwork to decorate rustic cabin walls and man caves. 

“Norma (Amaro) told me, ‘I never ask anybody to sell in my store, but I want you,’” said Bowser. 

Store owner, Norma Amaro displays a vintage clothes wringer and Hotpoint electric stove available at Vintage Pleasure in Fillmore. 082820 Dan Watson/The Signal

The antiques and collectables you’d expect are on display in the 2,000-square-foot store. Amaro walks past the china cups, plates, glassware, antique and costume jewelry to point out some brightly colored, Fisher-Price toys from the 1970s. “These have become very hot lately,” Amaro said Amaro. “The children that played with these toys are grown up now, and they want to have them again.”

Amaro regularly sells to other antique dealers that come from all over, buy items at her store and then resell them at double or triple her prices. 

“That’s OK with me,” said Amaro. “I’m glad to make the sale, and happy if they can make a profit, too.”

“I just want everybody to know we are open,” Amaro said. “People think everything is shut down, but we are still here. And Fillmore is such a nice town to visit.” 

Vintage Pleasure is located on 326 Central Ave. in Fillmore. Its COVID-19 hours are Monday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Tuesday through Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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