Secondhand News: Shops at SoHy get Cheeky with newest vintage vendor
By Lauren Flynn Kelly
Next month will mark the one-year anniversary of Hyattsville’s newest secondhand vendor: Cheeky’s Vintage. Owner Heather Rowe operates her vintage glassware and furniture store in The SoHy Arts Building that also houses Suffragette City Vintage and My Dead Aunt’s Books (collectively known as The Shops at SoHy).
Rowe had been running her business as a pop-up shop in and around Takoma Park, and was in the early stages of seeking a more permanent retail location when she learned Sue Older-Mondeel (better known as “Tanglewood Sue” in these parts) was moving out of her space at 5132 Baltimore Avenue. Older-Mondeel had previously been selling her upcycled furniture and handmade gifts as Tanglewood Works. It seemed like a natural, funky fit to all involved.
Rowe said she loves the “cooperative environment” and overall vibe of the store. According to Suffragette City owner Holli Mintzer, customers regularly say they are excited to see everything they like in one place. “The Venn diagram, as I’ve often said, is almost like a circle,” smiled Mintzer.
While most of the Cheeky’s merchandise can be found in the northwest corner of the store (yes, she sees you peering in the window at the glass goods!), depending on the day, you might find an orange mid-century modern (MCM) lounge chair nestled in a book corner or a black-and-gold metal bar cart loaded with collectible cocktail glasses. Once Rowe posts a photo of a new arrival to her @cheekysvintage Instagram account, it’s often spoken for by the end of the day.
Vintage barware is probably Rowe’s specialty and what she is most enthusiastic about, and her aesthetic is largely kitschy and MCM, but she does have a soft spot for the more traditional transferware patterns of English pottery. After spending the first three months of her life in nearby Berwyn Heights, she moved to England for a few years and had a nanny who’d say she was “a very cheeky girl.” So Cheeky became her nickname, and she developed an affinity for nice British tableware.
Cheeky’s Vintage offers an array of styles and colors of glasses, plates, canisters, trays and other tableware from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Rowe’s favorites include glassware from American designer Georges Briard, ceramic dinnerware from Russel Wright and “anything Scandinavian,” including the coveted printed ceramics made by Arabia of Finland.
Everything is well curated and beautifully displayed. “I like a lot of color and design, but I also try to offer a good range of different styles. Not everybody wants pink plates with flowers on it!” said Rowe.
The larger retail space has allowed Rowe to branch out a bit and carry more furniture and large pieces of art, as long as the pieces are of high quality and in good condition. While she will not consign pieces, she will buy some things outright if they’re a good fit for the store, and, of course, she will accept donations. Her next goal is to learn to refinish and restore furniture, and she even has a few pieces that customers have rescued from the street and saved for her.
“I love design, I love the aesthetic of things, so I work really hard to make the space look welcoming, and I get a lot of good feedback, so I appreciate that and that does mean a lot to me,” Rowe added.
She has also started partnering with local artists to offer paintings that align with her vintage aesthetic, and she would love to collaborate more with local businesses for events. Check in with her Instagram or her Facebook page for upcoming events and additions to the store.