PILSEN — Pilsen Vintage and Thrift owner Paul Gazar got so much flak after selling two antique lion statues, he called the buyers a day later and offered to pay them double to get the statues back.
The lions’ new owners, friends Shannon Brehm and Rachel Moore, didn’t want to part with the statues, but they made Gazar a proposition instead: They’d create a totally new clothing concept for the back of Gazar’s shop and, in return, the lions could stay.
“It all started over the lions,” Gazar said laughing.
“We came down here and found these lions, and Rachel’s a Leo and I love lions,” Brehm said.
The two friends had been shopping at Gazar’s shop for years. They’d talked about opening a vintage shop, but didn’t have the collateral to make it happen. Now, with Gazar’s help, their “Easy Rider” clothing line is becoming a reality.
Brehm and Moore met four years ago after working at a salon together, and after that “our weirdness just kind of clicked,” Brehm said.
Now they live on the top floor of Thalia Hall, a casual stroll down from Gazar’s shop and the rest of Pilsen’s 18th Street vintage stores.
The lions, Leo and Pedro, currently guard Pilsen Vintage and Thrift’s newly renovated back room, where fringe, tie-dye, and bohemian chic vintage pieces rule.
And soon, the ladies hope to get their hands on a silk screen so they can begin custom printing on some of the clothing. Ultimately they envision a pop-up stage in the back room where bands can rock out for Pilsen 2nd Fridays art walks.
Check out Pilsen Vintage and Thrift’s new line — and grab a complementary glass of vino — at 1430 W. 18th St. from 6-11 p.m. Friday.