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Kim Stromberg

photo by mason masis

Kim Stromberg has been collecting vintage and retro clothing for 10 years, a fascination that started by going to yard sales with her mother when she was a child. Recently, she realized she couldn’t keep her collection in the house any longer. To free up space—and with some gentle prodding from her husband, Morgan—Stromberg opened up Retro Reduxx, a vintage clothing store at 231 Main St. in downtown Chico, just before Thanksgiving. The store has clothing from the 1930s to the ’90s, and she purchased most of it from yard and garage sales, thrift stores or on trips with her family. She says her customers so far have been older people seeking a taste of nostalgia or college students fascinated with fashions from other time periods. Retro Reduxx is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sundays. Check it out on Facebook for more info.

Retro stores are trendy right now. Were they so popular when you were younger?

Growing up, it was almost a negative that you had to have stuff that was secondhand. We did it because we had no money growing up, and now it’s popular. It’s a booming thing and people think it’s fun and it’s different.

Do you have a favorite time period?

I’m huge into the ’70s. I wear my bell bottoms all the time. If I had a uniform, it’d be denim on denim; I’m shocked I’m not wearing that today. I don’t know [why], honestly. I wasn’t even born until ’83.

Do your customers have favorite eras?

I think most people do. I’ve learned, because I follow groups online, too, there are groups that are strictly ’50s, strictly ’70s and right now I feel like the college kids really like the ’80s and the ’90s. To them, that’s vintage—and that’s funny.

How has the community received your business?

We’ll have the older generations come in and they have this nostalgia. They’ll come in and be like, “Oh, my gosh, you just brought back memories and made me think of what I used to wear.”

Has anyone found something they used to own?

Yesterday, we had a younger girl come in and get a T-shirt, a Beastie Boys T-shirt, and she was like, “I swear to you I owned this.” I was like, “I promise I didn’t take it from your closet!” She bought it and was in heaven because she had been looking for it for forever.

How does it feel to have such positive interactions?

This is just a passion of mine. If nothing else, I love being here every day. Even if people just walk in and say “hi” or they accidentally [walk in] and don’t know what store I am and they are like, “Wait, you’re new here!” and they just walk around. I don’t know, it makes me happy.