Go Treasure Hunting at Warehouse 2639 in Visalia
Jan 25, 2017 11:00AM
● By Jordan Venema
By Jordan Venema
Photos by Michelle Smee
Long before there was Etsy, and long before there was Pinterest, and before social media stimulated the DIY movement, there was Warehouse 2639, the one-stop destination for anybody looking to salvage that unique piece of furniture or home décor, their potential pet project.
Owner Sharon Rodriguez clarifies, “We are not a thrift shop and we’re not high-end antique. We are in the middle, and that’s where I like to be. We sell used furniture, décor, garden, collectibles, antiques, painted furniture,” but don’t expect to find appliances or electronics, she adds.
Rodriguez purchased Warehouse 2639 about two years ago, abandoning the name Consignment Warehouse, since her dealers no longer sell by consignment. The Warehouse opened about 25 years ago, and Rodriguez herself sold out of the Warehouse for about 10 years before purchasing the store. But her own furniture-finding and treasure-troving began even farther back.
“I’ve always been a collector,” Rodriguez says, and especially of furniture. She began selling because, practically, “I couldn’t use it all,” she says with a laugh.
“I started out 15 or more years ago just doing garage sales and yard sales, and that’s where I got my love for the business. I probably came to the Warehouse about 10 years ago, and I love this business, I love the people, and I love helping people purchase a group of things.”
The Warehouse is made up of 10 dealers who each have their own unique style of wares, explains Rodriguez. “I have some dealers that have a mid-century look, and some have an industrial look, and others have a farmhouse look, or collectibles. It’s a variety.” Some dealers will paint their furniture, if they feel the spirit move, but they don’t take on custom projects. What you see is what you get.
The Warehouse is one of those spaces whose interiors are magically larger than the exterior suggests. “Once they’re in here, they’re in awe,” says Rodriguez. “It may not look as large from the outside, but it’s huge. When you walk into the building it’s one large area in the middle and then a lot of small rooms, and I mean you can explore, there is so much to go through.”
That’s not to say the Warehouse is a kind of maze to get lost in, but more like a time-traveling experience as one wanders through rooms with pieces from different periods and styles.
“Be prepared to spend at least an hour,” says Rodriguez. “We have women who will come in and walk through it two or three times to make sure they haven’t missed something.”
For Rodriguez, one of the perks of working at Warehouse is participating in her customers’ search for unique items, and piecing together a theme. In a manner, an experience at Warehouse includes a free – albeit amateur – decorative consultation.
Rodriguez laughs, “Yeah, I’m kind of like an interior decorator. I’ll go room by room with them.”
That search for the perfect item, that one-of-a-kind armoire or buffet, is also part and parcel of the Warehouse experience. “People can come in and possibly find a salvage piece, or they can come in and find a really nice piece,” says Rodriguez. In other words, Warehouse is also a great destination shop for those interested in starting their own DIY projects or looking for a finished piece. “And they know that,” she adds.
Sometimes the hunt is worth its own experience, but these rescued pieces can also unearth other treasures, like old photos, postcards, or newspaper clippings.
“I had a dresser once where I found 32 dollar bills,” Rodriguez says, though she’d probably argue that each piece, money or not, is a treasure in its own right. Either
way, the history of each piece certainly piques the imagination.
“It does make you wonder where a dresser has been,” Rodriguez agrees. But what matters most isn’t where a piece has been, but where it’s going and what it will mean to whoever is lucky enough to pick it up.
2639 East Noble, Visalia • (559) 636-3380
Monday – Saturday, 10am – 6pm
Sunday, noon – 5pm
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