Shoppers perusing Seaside's historic Gilbert District this time of year are undoubtedly bombarded by signs of the winter holiday season. Alongside the usual wreaths, lights, and holiday displays, one might have recently noticed some different icons of the season.
Andrea and Scott Schwochowowners of the recently opened Swell Times on Broadwayhave set the festive mood by displaying the seductive stocking-clad lady's-leg lamp from the film 'A Christmas Story,' a wide variety of characters and related memorabilia from 'A Nightmare Before Christmas,' and a poorly made, prominently placed Elvis bust topped with Santa's hat.
Not easily definable, the store carries mostly new, fun kitschy items with some antique things thrown in for character.
"You can find that favorite vintage lunchbox you had as a kid, or find a new retro one," said Andrea. "We also have an extensive line of harder-to-find collectables with movie and music related items as well."
The store, which was originally located for 13 years in the resort town of Saugatuck, Mich., evolved out of the couple's antiquing hobby. More than the quick glimpse down memory lane provided at similar shops, Swell Times embodies the couple's lifelong fascination with pop culture and a passion for memorable toys.
"Our store has a lot of our own personality and sense of humor in it," said Andrea. "We only sell things that we truly enjoy and have fun with."
One display that stands out is their personal collection of vintage lunchboxes. These include originals from The Archies, The Cosby Kids, Gomer Pyle, Superman, Laugh-In, and a wide variety of other shows.
Other items sold at Swell Times include hard-to-find bobbleheads, vintage barware, concert posters, and Barak Obama action figures.
Some still may be wondering why a store moved from a small town in Michigan to a small town in Oregon.
After spending their entire lives in Michigan and needing a big change, the couple decided to make a trip to Oregon almost two years ago.
"We immediately fell in love with the natural beauty and the friendliness of the people," said Andrea.
Their whirlwind trip included stops in Seaside, Cannon Beach, Newport, Eugene, Portland and Salem, Ore.
"Seaside was the first coastal town we visited and obviously one of our favorites," said Andrea. "And when we walked through the Gilbert District we knew it was where we wanted to relocate."