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Cloverdale Comments - March 2015


Cloverdale Comments - March 2015

by Carol Russell

Take A Look!

Under their round glass tops, wooden ship’s wheels create distinctive yet very affordable tables…Gracefully carved little chairs and a matching bench, each with sweet Victorian style needlepoint seat covers, nestle comfortably next to a vintage wicker chairs and couch set newly upholstered in cheerfully modern bold stripes…A smallish, super cool, easy-to-frame Barnum and Bailey Circus poster is perfect for a home entertainment room…The striking, gold Indonesian puppet figure lolling self-assuredly above a shelf filled with delicately crafted earrings and necklaces…A carefully preserved collection of delightfully dated, “1950s naughty” Centerfolds (very, very modest by 2015 standards!)…An almost new looking, light weight, 1904 metal bucket that houses a bread making device for novice bakers with each step in the process stamped helpfully on its lid…Vivid displays of glassware, dishware and other beautifully colored pieces in the ever popular Depression style gracing a large family dinner table…Boxes of Life Magazines.    

These are just a few examples of the wonderfully large, often agreeably evocative inventory--from table lamps to paintings--that caught my attention in the first few minutes after I popped into Oat Valley Vintage & Collectibles, which recently relocated from the north end of town, to chat with owners Patty Mills, Linda Johnson-Grey and Sherri Moore.      

So Glad I Did!

As a retired business partner (and confirmed shopper), it quickly became clear to me why this friendly trio and their store epitomize what makes the best locally-owned stores such special places.

Their success offers some solid lessons in business development as well as in partnerships. For example, in addition to sharing various day-to day duties, they honor the fact that their individual talents, interests and backgrounds mean each “brings something different to the table”. Critically important management responsibilities are divided accordingly. Patty, who’s also the respected C.B.O. of the Cloverdale School District, navigates all things financial and Linda, who describes herself as “lazy (sic) so I work smart and streamline!”, is the organizational specialist while Sherri’s strengths lie in the “creative, visionary and merchandizing” aspects.  

Genuinely customer focused and committed to service, their mutual goal truly is “to make customers happy”. The partners know our region’s antiques and collectibles community and, as Patty explains: “There’s a real connection” among vendors. So if Oat Valley or its sister store, Hopland’s Country Porch Antiques, doesn’t have what you’re looking for they’re happy to suggest where to find it.   

Try getting that kind of service at a Big Box.

Unsure of the value of your antique or collectible? These knowledgeable professionals have a well-earned reputation for giving you the fair price and, if uncertain of it, helping you locate an appraisal. After all, as all three agree, when it comes to valuing antiques and collectables the very best advice is: “Research!”

Insider tip: From a spare part to a rare and much sought after item, if you’re hoping to find something really special put it on the Customer Wish List so you can be notified when one of their first-rate vendors locates it.    

Now here’s my favorite Oat Valley story so far. One day a Mom and daughter happened to spot an old baby stroller there that looked just like one that had been in the Dad’s family for generations--right down to its missing part! You guessed it. They bought the stroller to surprise him with their precious find. As Linda observes: “Antiques are history.” And sometimes it’s very personal.        

You will be glad, too!

Whatever your taste, interests and budget, bet you’ll find at least one “Been looking for that forever!” or “Perfect gift!” at Oat Valley Vintage & Antiques; 1215 So. Cloverdale Ave.; Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m., 7 days/wk., (Closed major holidays.) Preview the shop’s typical treasures on Facebook. Contact: 894-4814 or


One of the best things about Oat Valley is how unpressured and unpretentious it is. No salesy drumbeat of “Finding what you’re looking for, Madam?” No snooty nosed “Are  you…huh-hummm…familiar with this artist? This period? This price range??” Just a welcoming “Hello” (or words to that effect) and we’re free to explore to our heart’s content. Nice.