Childhood toys, first edition books, rare vinyl records and grandma’s old cake pan. Many lost treasures and more can be found at the eclectic Fantastic Vintage Market located within the larger Fantastic Indoor Swap Meet.
The swap meet, located on Decatur Boulevard, meets every third weekend allowing local vintage item vendors to assemble and sell flea market finds. The multitude of vendors sell anything from antique porcelain statues to vintage posters and kitchen equipment from the 1960s. Among them are seasoned vendors, Johanna Back and Sandra Mendoza.
Back has managed the market since 2019 and is credited for doubling its size. Aside from owning La Petite Bones, a brick-and-mortar vintage store located in the Las Vegas Arts District, she is also the creator of Got Good Bones, a Facebook-selling group that rapidly grew from one local group to an impressive 50 national groups, one for each state, all bearing the same name.
Her love for all things vintage started at the tender age of 11. Now 30 years later, she is still constantly smitten by the diverse pieces she often finds.
“I love [this] event. Seeing many friends and fellow collectors as well as meeting new interesting people always makes my day,” Back stated about leading and vending at the market.
Mendoza, the owner of The Vintage Sailor, discovered her love for lost-and-found treasures when her mother-in-law inherited items from a tenant’s house. She successfully helped her sell them and the rest is history.
Now 38 years later, Mendoza remains in love with the industry, officially retiring one year ago to follow her dream of selling vintage items full-time. Along with her permanent booth at the Charleston Antique Mall, she simultaneously vends at the Fantastic Market as well and enjoys the many facets of this unique industry.
Vintage shops and swap meets also find intrigue with younger generations.
“I love checking out vintage shops because of how unique the pieces are. When you go [to vintage shops], there are so many options so when you pick a piece it’s fully something you like. I really enjoy finding something I love,” said UNLV student, Kelli Nguyen.
Nguyen also noted how vintage shops have a large selection of items, fair prices and quality pieces, only aiding the appeal of shopping in vintage malls.
The business owners also look forward to vending at different shows throughout the year such as The Great Junk Hunt, a new annual event held at the World Market Center in 2022.
The seasoned sellers displayed their booths this past March for the second consecutive year. “I loved it. I’ll be back,” Mendoza said. The show is slowly becoming an event staple in the local vintage community.
Both women intend to sell their discovered gems at the hunt when it returns in 2024. Back and Mendoza encourage others to attend this event, the market and the many other local vintage fairs throughout the year, as treasures, lost and found, await. Further information on the Fantastic Vintage Market can be found on the booth’s Facebook page. For upcoming Great Junk Hunt event dates, check out its site at https://www.thegreatjunkhunt.com/.