Bethany Clough

July 19, 2014

Retail Therapy: New stores give new feel to Old Town Clovis

If you haven't been to Old Town Clovis in a while, you might find a very different place to shop.

If you haven't been to Old Town Clovis in a while, you might find a very different place to shop.

Antique stores are the heart and soul of this longtime retail hub centering on Pollasky Avenue, roughly from Third to Seventh streets. But there's a lot more going on, too.

Changes range from a flourishing children's clothing designer and a mini revival on one corner to an influx of young shoppers with a new take on antiques and a farmers market that's creating a new Saturday morning tradition. Here's a closer look at each trend.

New take on antiques

Several stores are on the leading edge of the trend of repurposing and upcycling old things that has been embraced by decorating magazines and websites such as Pinterest.com. It's especially true at Fifth Street Antiques at the corner of Pollasky Avenue. The store is seeing a huge influx in young customers looking to decorate their modern homes with rustic accents — a change from the older collectors and antiquers who are still loyal customers.

"They like to buy a cool antique piece to incorporate into their home," says owner Wanda Leon.

The store has changed many of its displays to give customers ideas for repurposing antiques and vintage wares. That set of beat up, metal industrial wheels? It's now on top of a dresser acting as bookends.

Sometimes the store does the repurposing itself. A wooden machine-like egg crate maker that's more than 100 years old was revamped into a bench that could also be used as a coffee table.

And a back section of the store sells old doors, windows and other items for customers who want to turn them into headboards, tables or other projects.

It works in tandem with 3 Oaks Studio across the street, which sells paint and supplies for repainting furniture without sanding or priming. It also teaches classes about the technique.

It's not uncommon for shoppers to bounce between Fifth Street Antiques and 3 Oaks as they look for furniture or paint.

Vintage on Fourth, at 608 Fourth St., sells the finished version of many of these products. They'll take old lockers, for example, repaint them, pull off some doors and add shelves to turn them into unique storage items.

The store also holds classes on upcycled projects and owner Karen Chisum organizes the twice-yearly Old Town Flea Market.

Cavelle Kids

At 623 Fourth St., a kids' clothing store opened about four months ago. Cavelle Kids sells high-end specialty boys and girls clothing, such as striped button-down cardigans for boys, navy and white polka dot shorts for girls and tops with lots of ruffles that crank up the cute factor to 11. The store carries sizes from 3 months to size 6, and the clothes are American made.

The owner and designer of the clothes, Jessica Elrod, has roots in the area.

She grew up in O'Neals and married her high school sweetheart — they both graduated from Sierra High School in Tollhouse — who was in the military. Since the couple moved frequently as part of his job, she started designing and selling to boutiques out of wherever they were living. She's been selling the brand for four years and has about 60 boutiques nationwide and one in Kuwait selling the line, along with online retailers.

Elrod's husband is out of the military now and the couple has moved back home to Clovis. That allowed her to open the shop. Clothes are for sale in the front and Elrod does her designing in the back.

She has plenty of inspiration. The couple has a 16-month-old daughter, and Elrod is due to give birth to her second daughter this week.

Mini revival

The 500 Club Bar & Grill is at the corner of Fifth Street and Clovis Avenue and there's a mini revival happening on either side of it.

At 618 Fifth Street, furniture store Brick & Mortar opened in April. The store sells new furniture that's modern yet cozy. The store has lots of sofas and sectionals, dining sets and a bold orange patterned armchair.

A few doors down is Elle Style Bar, which took over the space Urban Ornaments left behind. The family that owns the building — and the salon — did a major renovation, gutting the inside to expose the original brick and moving its salon there from Clovis Avenue.

Jim and Lisa Davis also switched their business to an Aveda salon, meaning they use the brand's hair and skin products. Elle is the second Aveda salon in the Fresno/Clovis area.

They sell Aveda products in a shop portion of the salon in the front of the business. They plan to continue renovating the front of the business, adding double doors and expanding the retail space.

There's also new life on the other side of the 500 Club on Clovis Avenue.

Salon Studio Fifth moved into a building there, at 520 Clovis Ave., about a year ago, bringing its retail portion with it that carries brightly colored tops and dresses, purses and jewelry, such as bracelets, necklaces and chunky rings.

Kuppa Joy opened next door a little over a year ago. The coffee shop with exposed brick walls founded by former Detroit Lions football player Zack Follett has been doing brisk business ever since.

Saturday mornings

Most people know about the big Friday night farmers market on Pollasky Avenue, but there is also the year-round farmers market on Saturday mornings that started in October. The market is open 8-11:30 a.m. in the old DMV parking lot at 625 Pollasky Ave. It has inspired a new shopping tradition of its own.

Increasingly, people are going out to breakfast at say, Sandy's Country Junction, or getting a cup of coffee at Kuppa Joy on Clovis Avenue, before ambling over to the market. After the farmers market, many hit up the stores in Old Town, says Business Organization of Old Town Clovis executive director Carole Lester.

"We see a lot of new faces," she says. Shoppers say, "Let's wander down and see what's new."

The smaller Saturday morning farmers market doesn't have the entertainment of the Friday night market — it is all about the food. It has about 10 vendors who carry not only fruit and vegetables, but duck, turkey and chicken eggs, milk, nuts, honey, flowers, orange juice, goat cheese and meats such as sausage, tri-tip and grass-fed beef. Raw Fresno also has a booth.

Long term, the site of the market may be home to events that feature even more shopping. Work will start in October to transform the vacant lot into Centennial Plaza, with a stage for concerts and events such as craft fairs and art shows. The market will continue during that construction and may move into the street temporarily.

Even longer term, you'll see more places to shop or eat on either side of that site. The city plans to sell off two pieces of the property to private buyers who want to construct multi-story buildings there. The buyers' plans will play a role in who the city chooses, with an emphasis on getting retailers and restaurants on the ground floor.

 

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About Bethany Clough

Bethany Clough

@bethanyclough

Bethany Clough takes you to all the hidden hot spots around the Valley. This is the place to find the comings and goings of restaurants, bars and shops around the Valley. Email Bethany at bclough@fresnobee.com or call her at 559-441-6431.

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