With its relocation all but final, Raleigh’s coolest curiosity shop cleaned out its closet for a final-weekend bonanza, offering the prize leftovers from its three-story downtown barn for handful of change.
“Heartbreaking deals,” said Brian Ownbey, owner of Father and Son vintage store, which is vacating its Hargett Street home for new digs at 302 S. West St. “It’s stuff we just could not get in the building.”
For more than 20 years, Father and Son built a reputation as the go-to supplier of mid-century modern furniture, helping to decorate Hilary Swank’s New York apartment shortly after her second Oscar win.
But it gained wider local notoriety as a place to wander on a slow afternoon – the ultimate mom-and-pop store with rooms full of trucker hats and Buddha sculptures to explore. In my 14 years at the News & Observer, Father and Son has enticed me to buy a monkey-patterned nap sofa, an album by the Meatmen and a fez.
Then in April, a developer bought the building, forcing Father and Son’s exodus to a smaller but hotter location near the new downtown transit center.
On Saturday, pickers pored over the random collection: an Ava Gardner-shaped church fan, a photograph of a moray eel, the bottom half of an anatomically accurate mannequin.
A framed portrait of ’50s radio broadcaster Arthur Godfrey was marked down from $10 to $5. Coats and dresses of vintage varieties hung on racks with $5 markdowns. Sunglasses sat in a $2 bucket. A working Edison phonograph showed a $375 ticket. But Ownbey said much hadn’t been priced and all was negotiable.
“Some of it has been stored in my basement,” Ownbey said. “Some of it are things I meant to fix and never did. So I’m going to let somebody else fix it.”
He held up a pair of ceramic mushrooms, pink and black with spots.
“What you need are these,” he said, “You put them on the top of the sink, over the faucets.”
The sticker on the box showed $18 – a holdover price from olden times.
“Today,” Ownbey said, “they’re probably a dollar.”
Father and Son’s fire sale lasts through Sunday, when the deals should grow sweeter. But as of this sentence being written, hands are grabbing up a roomful of dusty jewels.