We had the good fortune of connecting with Robert Ruiz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Robert, what is the most important factor behind your success?
Valuing our customers and respecting them by providing consistent quality and value is the key to our success.
The Brand has evolved from decade to decade but always grounded in focus on style with the constant change.
The secret is consistent market testing and fast product line collections based on market response from week to week.
What should our readers know about your business?
Melrose Vintage is a unique vintage store that sells quality collections of hard to find items that are curated ,washed, altered and or repaired.
We are most proud of the weekly shipments we process and offering fresh vintage collections on a weekly basis.
We began with festival sales in the 80s , cultivated wholesale relationships and by the late 80s realized we where making our distributors a fortune and finally in 1991 opened our first retail location.
Adversity has always been a constant, we are never guaranteed what tomorrow brings so being optimistic can become difficult in adversity. The hardest challenge was and is when we’ll meaning family or friends unwittingly discourage or douse your dreams and aspirations .
Lessons learned are constant and the biggest one is when you know your market then you are the only expert in your specific market. So taking advice isn’t always the best thing to do and Don’t doubt yourself.
Melrose Vintage is a local family owned small business that believes in and supports community.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Welcome to Uptown Whittier , we begin in the town center at Melrose Vintage and go for a stroll to our favorite cafe around the block to Mimos cafe , have a stroll the the promenade after a quick bite and stop in at the Whittier Village Cinemas where we can catch a matinee and get a 5$ show . Next we would stroll down Philadelphia to Back to the Futures Hill Valley High (whittier HS) . From their we drive around the block to Central Park where Hocus Pocus was filmed and has a picturesque park with a band stand and hosts concerts in the park with beautiful historic homes surrounding it . Around the corner is the Disturbia house that’s supposed to be haunted with tales of old . After a long day we would stroll to our favorite tapas bar called Phlight and order our managers name sake Bowie’s Dates , yes Bowie our mgr has a plate named after her here and we love it .
Day two , let’s make it a bar crawl . We begin with vegan menudo at the 6740 and drink the best cbd cambucha on draft , once were energized we stroll down to the Havana house and enjoy a good cigar and start with a Belgian ale while sitting on the promenade becoming the scenery and soaking it in . Next we go to our own brewery that’s directly across the street from Melrose and that’s Whittier Brewing Co and Poet Gardens , yes a genuine brewery and picnic grounds with food and brews !!! To round out the day we stroll to the top of the parking structure and take epic photos of the sunset .
Day three , start off with fresh waffles at Rocky cola and a home made hot chocolate with extra whipped cream , now we’re ready to go for a walk from the city center whittier college , yes the college made famous by Richard Nixon , find his memorial and toss a coin for good luck , walk through campus and absorb the art and architecture . If we’re lucky we can make a show at the Shannon center for performing arts directly across the street and for dinner the California Grill at the same intersection for some fresh grilled salmon , excellent !!
Day 4 , let’s start early and go for a hike up Hellman’s Park , this 4 mile hike is fantastic and you will be surprised of the epic views . Once we get back to uptown we jump in the car and go down the street to Jacks Diner for breakfast . Now we’re fueled up to take a bike ride down the greenway trail , such a great ride , we begin at palm park and slow down at the 5 points bridge for an epic steel punk bridge made of iron that is a landmark of sorts and great photo op. By this time I’m pretty sure the turn around has Us all pooped so we need a good therapeutic massage at Premier Health with Dr Jason and his sports therapists .
Day 5 , let’s discover vintage !!! We begin at a massive historic antique market named King Richards and we look through hundreds of vendors spaces for unique one of a kind finds , after spending the day we swing by another treasure down the street A to Z mart , this family owned brother sister shop specializes in estate sales and has a treasure in every corner . Don’t forget to stop by Melrose for daily shipments that are unique and individual.
Day 6 , we hope this day falls on a special event , from our weekly farmers market to the annual car show or the massive Dow de Los Muertos event or the antique show we have so many great community events in our historic downtown we hope you will join us on our next special event .
Day 7 , well this would be a Sunday , you will hear the church bells from the local churches surrounding Uptown and that means it’s time for Brunch , JTs kitchen has an amazing brunch or if you want a mariachi brunch then bizarra capital is more your style or if your vegan then modern Shawman is your place .
By the time this week is over you will see we have a very small 1/2 square mile community where alls this action happens and you will be so tired you will need another vacation to recover , we hope you enjoy your visit and are always happy to share
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
In 1976 I met the man that mentored me and got me into vintage , Koko Kalajian , by the early 80s he went from selling carpet remnants and military surplus to focusing on used Levis and by mid 80s was the worlds largest denim dealer. Koko was a man that offered work to friends and family or anyone in need and was extremely generous with a profound sense of purpose in community. He opened doors for me to some of the most influential people in the industry past and today.