We had the good fortune of connecting with Shannon Steward and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Shannon, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I am from a town called Sunnyslope, which is located in north central Phoenix. My childhood was unique in that my parents have been in their house for over 45 years, they brought me home from the hospital to that home, my brother was born in the living room a couple of years later. I’ve lived all over the city, currently living downtown but Sunnyslope will always be home. When we decided to open a business, it was important to us to stay nearby. My shop, The Vintage Arizona is a mile north from the turquoise house I grew up in. The building where I am located has quite and incredible history. Built in 1940 it was the original church at The Indian School, later moved to its current location in the 1960’s where it was a daycare for many years. Eventually it was turned into retail space, a barber shop, an antique store in the 1980’s, Sonny Barger even had a motorcycle repair shop here in the 1990’s. I was raised by two incredibly creative people. My parents house has always been an eclectic mix of things. My dad loves to shop for treasures and my mom keeps it all organized. When I decided to attempt to open my own store, we were understandably nervous, but it was something we had been practicing, unknowingly our whole lives. The shop is a direct reflection of my upbringing. We didn’t hire a single person to put the shop together. Everything was built, painted and put together with a lot of love.. I wanted the shop to be an experience! I wanted people to feel the energy and beauty in this space. I wanted all senses to be overtaken. We play amazing music, twinkle lights everywhere and it smells good in here. I deal in second and third hand goods, I keep things categorized so it’s pleasant to look around and not feel overwhelmed. As I’m getting older, I’m becoming more and more extroverted, my folks are decidedly very introverted, so this shop is perfect for all of us. I’m the face and the cheerful friend and they help me with every other aspect. The varied life skills they taught me keep me pushing forward every day. I know how to paint, build, plant, manage my time, all of the things you need to run a store. Even through a pandemic, we are marching forward and getting treasures to the next people who will use and enjoy them.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?

The Vintage Arizona is a vintage/second hand shop in Sunnyslope, Arizona. I truly wanted the shop to be an experience. It’s an eclectic selection of things, but beautifully curated. The front window, flanked with twinkle lights is full of houseplants in interesting containers, the El Pato cactus are a best seller. The turquoise A-frames are dripping with beautiful antiques, cameras, crafts and games. The red tables on the south wall is where you will find our Southwest section, salt and pepper shakers and mugs. The back of the store is where you’ll. find the housewares and toy department and the man-tiques.

I’m super proud of the layout. I think we are one of the only shops in town that had a soundtrack curated for us, I’ve never been in a shop where people sing and dance, but it happens a lot in here! I’ve had many careers in my life. I’ve been a hairstylist for 24 years, I was a gardener, shop manager, and lastly a school photographer. That was the most rewarding and challenging job I’ve ever had. There were many days you just wanted to walk out the door, and many employees did, but I never gave up. It taught me a lot about myself, and was so hard most days that I thought, owning a store HAS to be easier than this! One of the challenges in owning a shop is finding the momentum to always keep it feeling fresh. If something big sells I have to fill that space with something new. I always have to have backstock going and that can feel very overwhelming at times, but I have to remind myself that it’s all money, just in a different form. I never know who is going to walk in the door and if they will find that special thing they’ve been searching for, so we make sure we have a little bit of everything! I read something the other day that said, “Entrepreneurs will work 80 hours a week so they don’t have to work 40 for someone else.” It’s true! I’m always working, if it’s picking at estate sales, answering questions on social media, working on marketing… I enjoy every single second of it! I want people to know that we are a safe space. All are welcome. I do hope that when you get here that you’ve set aside some extra time, because I am a talker! And don’t forget to look up! There’s tons of things on the walls too!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We would start out in Sunnyslope and make our rounds at the other antique shops, Everything Goes and Audrey’s are always fun to look around. We’d make our way down Cave Creek Road to my favorite store Retablo and buy some Mexican pottery and a couple blankets. We’d head back down Cave Creek and grab lunch at Little Miss BBQ. Once fueled, we’d head downtown and get to our appointment at Hazel & Violet and make some things while chatting with Nancy, the owner. After that, we’d make our way down 7th ave and hang out on the patio at Thunderbird Lounge for a couple drinks. Since it’s still early and I live across the street, we’ll check out another patio and get some comfort food at Welcome Diner and walk over to relax at my little cottage.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are several amazing female business owners in this city that amaze and inspire me daily. Our encouragement of each other is really incredible, we are a tight knit group. The woman who helped me so much in the very beginning is Georganne Bryant, the owner of Frances. She has a huge following in Phoenix and was my second customer ever. The simple gesture of her sharing my shop on her social media helped us in tremendous ways. She continues to be a bright spot in our retail community.

Website: thevintagearizona.com
Instagram: @thevintagearizona
Facebook: TheVintageArizona

Image Credits
Mickey Murphy

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.