UNION GAP, Wash. — Jerry Noblin opened Granny’s Attic in Union Gap to offer new and used furniture, appliances and decor. He never intended to get into the vintage clothing business.
He is now. After two years of trying to sell a collection of more than 500 pieces of mostly women’s clothing from the 1960s into the ’80s in its entirety, Noblin started pulling individual items for display in his store at 4215 Main St.
“It began with the hats,” said Noblin, who’s amused by the shape of some of them. He is impressed with the structure of others, showing off the inside of one white pillbox frosted with feathers and sparkles.
Noblin began bringing items out of storage Monday. Along with the hats spread out on a table and some vintage sewing patterns, he pointed to several vinyl purses in bright colors.
He wanted to sell the entire collection as a whole — around 525 items, Noblin estimates — because he didn’t want to deal with all the individual pieces. And that’s a better value for the buyer anyway, he said.
All that time, the collection has filled one of the bedrooms in his home above the store. After two years of living with it, Noblin decided to start parting with it piece by piece.
“Why not? I’ve got the floor space,” he said. “Honestly I’m having so much fun with it now, I’m glad I took it out.”
The collection came with a bulk buy from a large Lower Valley storage unit. “This particular unit was huge, half as big as this store,” Noblin said.
Beyond that, the tale gets mysterious. He doesn’t know who amassed the collection, which is remarkably clean, so it likely wasn’t in storage for long. Everything came on hangers, some displayed on Nordstrom racks. Many sported thrift store tags.
The “who” behind this collection had an eye for style — and a great deal. Labels include Suzy Perette, Lilli Ann, Jonny Herbert and Alice of California. There’s a long Harris Tweed coat and numerous Pendleton items, including sets with jackets, pants, skirts and vests. One swanky knitwear shirt and skirt by Marchesa di Grésy, an Italian noblewoman who had to go to work after her husband lost his fortune in the stock market, was made exclusively for I. Magnin & Co.
“Probably two-thirds of it is really good stuff,” Noblin said.
Don’t be daunted by the potential cost, though; he plans to sell it all at wholesale prices.
“I want to find a home for these things,” said Noblin, who’s still willing to part with the entire collection for a price.
Though Noblin is more into mantel clocks, he appreciates vintage clothing’s quality and history. It’s part of the fun of buying and selling estates.
“I have a great time with the old things,” he said.