You leave town for a minute and everything goes to hell. Or at least catches on fire. That's how I felt when I got back from the holidays and heard that one of my favorite neighborhood stores, The Other Shop on Divisadero, had burned down. Haighteration reported on December 21 that the awesome vintage housewares and vinyl store was nothing but a charred shell after a fire gutted the place, the remains of its eclectic goods left for trash on the sidewalk. The Other Shop's Facebook page states the store is closed until further notice and "until we can get this all sorted out." (Editor Andrew Dudley notes that the Yoga Loft upstairs was also damaged, but it doesn't sound like the damages were as bad, although they're still assessing them).
I'm crushed to hear about The Other Shop. That place has been my haunting ground ever since I moved to the Haight almost a decade ago, and I know many of my friends in the 'hood feel the same way. It was like the best indoor flea market ever. The vendors there amassed an impressive collection of midcentury artifacts. I've bought Bakelite and turquoise jewelry, ceramic dishes with sunsets painted on them, records from my buddy Henry Wimmer of Open Mind Music, '60s shift dresses ... I could buy up so much of that store if I had the budget and the giant home to arrange it all in. I also think of all the hours the collective of vintage hunters must've spent finding all that cool stuff they sold, and I feel terrible for them as well. These weren't easily replaceable knick-knacks from old garage sales, they were carefully selected, gorgeously designed artifacts and great old records from bygone eras. And unlike the current fancy vintage vendors on Valencia Street, the prices weren't incredibly expensive (you could even find some good bargains in there from time to time).
The Other Shop and the X-21 basement were really the two best places to buy vintage in town, and it's such a bummer to now see them both gone. Check back with Haighteration for updates on both spaces. And The Other Shop's Facebook page has a list of the vendors and where you can find them now. Update: Henry Wimmer messaged me that you can find all his great vinyl collection upstairs at Stuff at 150 Valencia St. As he says, every record bought there helps!
Image courtesy of Haighteration