“There’s a lot of antiques here along the Willamette Valley and we just continued that love of finding treasures, looking at old photographs and old books, reading about old history. ”
— Thea Villasenor
Thea Villasenor is the owner of Thea’s Vintage Living in the Pearl District. The shop stocks vintage items and work by local craftspersons and creators. A self-proclaimed old soul with a passion for all different periods, as a child Villasenor remembers hearing her parents’ stories of junking and dumpster diving before her birth. Thea, herself, took to her family’s love of vintage and thrifting early.
Originally from Los Angeles, her family moved to Salem, OR when she was seven. “There’s a lot of antiques here along the Willamette Valley and we just continued that love of finding treasures, looking at old photographs and old books, reading about old history. ”
She went to the University of Oregon for Visual Design specializing in photography, ultimately bringing her area of study to a vintage shop she opened with her mom in Sellwood in 1999. Along with taking the photographs for her website, she brings her knowledge into the merchandising of her shop. “I’ve always done these little vignettes,” she says. “I’ve always tried to tell a story. And that’s what you do in photography.”
In 2006 she moved to the Pearl to expand her clientele. Today she says tourism accounts for 75% of her business. “The things that you see in my shop are a reflection of everything I love and want to give a new purpose. History is very important to me. Antiques, these pieces were bought or given to someone because it meant something. It has this history and this energy to it. I try to pass it along to my customers. My customers come in here looking for something special. They’re treasure hunters too.”
1204 NW Glisan St, Portland, OR 97209