My Favorite Things owner Brandon Rawls can't choose a single favorite item in his new store full of vintage goods. "I have too many favorites," he says, pointing out a GI Joe signed by Tuskegee Airmen that he found at a storage auction.
The store, which opened in October, is nestled in the , just off Valley Street, which becomes Clark Street in South Orange. The shop has attracted a loyal Maplewood and South Orange following already.
Rawls has found many treasures by "luck and surprise." He began collecting antiques and memorabilia at age 14, when he was a student at Newark Arts High School. He bought "whatever jumped out" and learned more about each item from South Orange's Carrie Topf, among other locals. "South Orange was my hangout," recalls Rawls with a smile.
Rawls has a second, related business. He moves furniture and does whole-house cleanouts, a business that he "backed into." A estate sale buff, he found that very often fellow shoppers asked if he could help lift and move items. "I made up some cards and went into business," he explains.
The store has high-end art and memorabilia, as well as fun and funny items from the recent past. Stacks of mid-1960s Mad Magazine jostle hundreds of vinyl records and stacks of vintage photos.
Rawls enjoys the serendipity of both buying and selling. He has a cache of old-time soaps and detergents, including boxes of Lux and Dreft. He had several bars of LifeBuoy soap, as well, he says, until a few days ago.
"A woman came in," he says. "Her father used LifeBuoy his whole life, and she remembered the smell." He smiles. "She bought every bar I had to remind her of her dad."
Brandon Rawls, Proprietor, 973 953-1025
My Favorite Things
607 Tremont Avenue