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Velvet Goldmine Vintage Home Furnishings Joins Rainbo Club Building

By Alisa Hauser | July 14, 2016 9:00am | Updated on July 15, 2016 8:00am
 A new storefront at Damen and Division Street.
A new storefront at Damen and Division Street.
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DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser

WICKER PARK — A shop offering mid-century modern and vintage home furnishings is coming to Wicker Park's Damen and Division intersection.

Located at 2001 W. Division St. — in the same building as popular dive Rainbo Club — Velvet Goldmine is owned by Kurt Niesman and Jon Gorske, who are business partners and roommates. The shop, named after a David Bowie song, should be open in the next two weeks. 

A sign posted in the window on Thursday announces the store's name and a brief description: "mid-century modern and vintage home furnishings."

"Tis coming!!!! And we can not wait!!!" wrote Skyler Rowe, a Rainbo Club bartender, on Facebook.

The corner spot has been empty since a recording studio relocated a few years ago but in general it has been closed off to the public for at least 10 years, Gorske said.

Last year, Gorske and Niesman both left their full-time retail jobs, at Louis Vuitton and Apple, to focus on bringing Velvet Goldmine to fruition.

"We jumped into it, all in," Gorske said, adding that he and Niesman have been collectors for several years.

"My interest started as a kid in college looking to furnish my first apartment. Back then, in the early '90s, mid century [modern] was everywhere and nobody wanted it. For us, going to thrift shops and putting together our own style was a big part of what drew us to this," Gorske said.

Most of the items that will be offered in the store were found at estate sales and auctions in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Michigan. Prices will be as affordable as possible.

"We both are in tune with a combination of what the neighborhood was like when we first moved here and what it has become. We want to have something for everyone and don’t want to be a shop where the average twentysomething can’t afford anything," Gorske said.

The portion of the shop near the front, facing Division Street, will focus more on housewares, from lighting to artwork, glassware, pottery and sculptures and more décor aspects to start, but eventually a room in the back that will debut in about six months will sell larger pieces such as furniture and wall hangings.

Velvet Goldmine's merchandise focus is on furnishings from the 1950s through the 1970s but occasionally it could stray from those decades, Gorske said.

In addition to the Bowie song, "Velvet Goldmine" is also the name of a British flick from the late 90s starring Ewan McGregor and Christian Bale. The cult classic movie takes place during the glam rock era of the 1970s.

"We were set on the name from the very beginning. It evokes the feeling of the type of merchandise we are looking to carry," Gorske said.

Chris Ruder, a Wicker Park resident and Spikeball founder, noticed the shop's sign shortly after it was installed.

"I'm happy to see new retail in what is arguably the best corner in Wicker Park. I always wondered why it was, what I assume was, an apartment and not retail," Ruder said.

A sign announcing a new shop, Velvet Goldmine at 2001 W. Division St. [Skyler Rowe/Facebook]


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