We Heart OKC

RetrOKC

RetrOKC is located just off 16th street in the heart of a growing creative community known as the Plaza District. The abstract shapes and retro font on the storefront are indicators of the treasure awaiting inside. Retrokc specializes in Mid-Century, Kitsch, Retro Atomic and Industrial decor for Oklahoma City. Mike Brown, owner, was kind enough to sit down with us to shed some light on retrOKC and to share how his habit of collecting has evolved into a prominent shop. His need to collect comes from a deeper need to repurpose things. The shop provides an outlet for Mike to share his collection, giving people a local place to purchase unique items for their homes.

“I never bought new furniture. I have always gone out and looked for older stuff,” explains Mike as he starts off our interview. For him, it can’t just be old. Mike looks for things that have a sense of style. And that’s exactly the kind of stuff you will find at Mike’s shop.

Everything has a beginning. And for Mike it didn’t start with Mid-Century furniture or Kitchenware made popular by the television show Madmen. Mike’s itch for collecting started with a love for Volkswagens. At 15, he began collecting the iconic Volkswagen beetle. According to Mike, his collection never grew to more than three beetles at a time, “I had a lot of rare or extra parts. The hard to find parts I would keep and exchange at swap meets and stuff.”

As we sat there listening to Mike, we began to realize that this isn’t just his day job. It’s a way of life. Even more than that, it’s about him being able to share his love and passion with people who come into his shop. Mike has since refined his search to garage and estate sales. With his experience, he is now able to sift through stuff and find items most people might look over. That is a benefit to shopping at retrOKC. You could spend gas, time and money over the weekends visiting yard sales and such. Or you could let Mike do the leg work and visit his shop to find your next vintage-addition to your home.

Quality Vintage Stuff

We asked Mike at what point he considered selling the stuff he collected. He replied, “When I moved to Oklahoma City, I worked for UPS. I enjoyed driving, but I found myself enjoying finding stuff and collecting stuff much better.” There came a point in his collection where it was too big. That’s when retrOKC began. Initially, it was a small booth at an antique mall. He admits that making the transition was hard saying, “A lot of stuff I found, I was always connected to it. I was attached to it. I didn’t really want to get rid of it.” We can relate to that feeling. Spring cleaning comes around and you come across an object that you don’t really need, but for some reason you can’t part with it. We believe, that Mike’s connection to things is the reason for the success of retrOKC. It makes him pretty picky about what he will buy.

That careful attention to detail was evident as we took a glance around Mike’s shop. He has great stuff! The kitchenware looks like it has never been used. Furniture hardly shows that it was made 30 to 40 years ago. He knows the difference between years of dust and grit that can be washed off and something that has seen better days. He does his best to find quality items to showcase, and we would be hard pressed to find a shop that does it better.

Mike is as genuine as it gets. His personality is contagious. The thick-square framed glasses, biker beard and tattoos only add to Mike’s charming demeanor. We really enjoyed walking through his shop discovering unique items. Today, society puts so much importance on stuff being disposable and instant. The items found in retrOKC remind us of a day when people made things to last. Each item is as desireable as the day it was made. We asked Mike what he enjoyed most about running retrOKC. “I like buying stuff. I like selling stuff. But it’s not just about selling stuff. It’s not just about the money.” He continued to explain that he really enjoys it when he delivers an item to a customer’s home. “That’s my favorite part. Seeing the homes. Seeing where stuff goes to. Seeing where stuff ends up is the best.” And like Mike, we enjoy each and every time we step foot in his store. RetrOKC is a true gem, and not only because of the things you can buy. It’s Mike. He works hard to help his customers and make sure their experience at retrOKC is a good one. Thanks Mike! We had a blast and can’t wait to see what comes into your store next.