There are Big Box stores and then there are big boxes of stuff. At the Pomona Antique Mall, holiday shopping becomes personal and sentimental. As you wander through the maze of vendor booths at Persnickity Antiquity, you find yourself lost in time, examining an item you think you once had, but your mom chucked it in the trash: a 1984 inaugural Freedom Bowl pennant, a talking E.T. doll, an Isaac Asimov Sci-Fi magazine, a Gleaming the Cube videotape. In these troubled economic times, the gift of nostalgia might be the ticket for Christmas party present-swapping, as long as the gift didn’t originate from the recipient’s own estate sale. According to Persnickity, yard sales and attics are where most of their artifacts come from—and what’s the old saying? One man’s garbage . . .
Well, there’s always been a fine line between trash and treasure, but some approach the distinction with good humor. As the sign says at Kaiser Bill’s Military Emporium, “This is not a museum. This junk is for sale!” Owner Dave George says Kaiser Bill’s mountainous heaps of uniforms, gas masks, medals and bayonets is the largest collection of military memorabilia in the Southland. The biggest seller? A P-38 G.I. can opener, small enough to wear as an earring. How the heck does he find this stuff? He doesn’t—“It finds me,” he says.
The Pomona Antique Mall has close to two dozen shops, all with their own niche. And here, if it’s made in China, it’s probably a good thing. (Kevin Ausmus)
Persnickity Antiquity, 180 E. 2nd St., Pomona, (909) 620-8996
Kaiser Bill’s Military Emporium, 224 E. 2nd St., Pomona, (909) 622-5046