If anytime in charge of a last-minute Halloween must-have, like disco dancing shoes with goldfish arctic in time in the heel, or that abstruse wig that will absolutely argue adolescent revelers that you accept bedevilled the body of Jim Morrison for your anniversary haunt, there was but one abode to go in the South Bay.
For about bristles decades, Aaardvark’s in Hermosa and ultimately Redondo Bank served a different purpose. Open year round, the baby boutique had different best pieces, Halloween costumes, affair affair accoutrements and a accomplished lot of South Bay charm.
As Pinkberry’s appear and go, and albino anxiety pad accomplished arbitrary boutique afterwards shop, there was one that managed to not alone survive, but thrive.
Now it’s the clichéd “end of an era.”
Aaardvark is closing up boutique afterwards 47 years, and alms 50 percent or added off on all items in an accomplishment to abandoned the abundance chaotic with amethyst wigs, witchy shoes, masquerade masks, 50s appearance bathing apparel and abundant more.
It’s a abundance that was already frequented by Robin Williams – you may be able to assumption it was his signature absurd Hawaiian shirts that he snagged from Aaardvark’s.
There was additionally that time Shaquille O’Neal alone a fetor bomb in the Hermosa store.
“Everybody remembers that,” Jon McCormack, co-owner, said.
Prior to acceptable a Laker, Shaq had aloof bought a actor dollar abode in Manhattan Bank — aback aback it was aloof about $1 actor to alive there.
“He came in the abundance and set off a bomb, and anticipation it was absolute cute,” Jon said. “We anticipation it was beneath than that,” Jon said, with a chuckle.
The abundance opened aback Jon and Donna McCormack were beginning out of school. Donna, aloof 18 years old with a accustomed aptitude as a seamstress, fabricated “scarf blouses” – a big hit at Aaardvark’s in the 70s in Hermosa Beach.
Joe Stromei started the abundance out of an old console barter alleged “the Odd Ark” at the Rose Bowl Flea Market in amid academy classes, according to his obituary. He added the third “a” in Aaardvark so he would be at the actual top of the buzz account aback it came to aged and acclimated clothing.
In 1972, the abundance was originally alleged Aaardvark’s Odd Ark and it was nestled in the bright little bank boondocks of Hermosa, in the 800 block of Hermosa Ave.
Jon and Donna spotted clothes in the window and afterwards chatting with the owner, Joe, one affair led to another, and they were hired.
The brace formed at Aaardvark’s Odd Ark for 12 years afore affairs the abundance in 1984 from Joe.
Nine food about Southern California anon popped up.
“It was THE name in best clothing,” Jon said.
Although, at the time, the backward 70s, it wasn’t aloof vintage. In accurate LA fashion, the accouterment was alleged re-purposed, or recycled. Alike “gently used” was a accepted term.
“People were aloof acceptable acquainted of how important it was to recycle,” Jon said.
“Can I aloof say something?” asks Donna, as she and Jon acknowledge during the account like alone a brace affiliated for the bigger allotment of their lives do, as if they’re arena jazz, respectfully cat-and-mouse for the absolute moment to comedy on her partner’s aftermost sentence.
“Before Joe opened these stores, it was appealing abundant that you went to Goodwill, and there was being that looked like your grandma wore it,” Donna said.
Jon and Donna, forth with the aboriginal buyer Joe, angry it into article special.
Aaardvark’s fabricated it air-conditioned to abrasion vintage.
“He revolutionized aggregate – he fabricated it cool. It was a bigger brand of clothing,” Jon said of Joe.
The Hollywood abundance saw “just about everybody” in agreement of celebrities.
Robin Williams, Bruce Springsteen – who admired affairs Aaardvark’s over-dyes, atramentous jackets, and Levi vests – and affluence of celebrity athletes active at the beach, including Luke Walton, LA Kings’ Jeff Carter, and admittedly, some bodies Jon and Donna don’t alike recognize.
“There are several music bodies who, I admit, I don’t apperceive their names, but the girls who assignment actuality get all ‘did you see that?!'” Jon said.
But as the years passed, the Aaardvarks kept dying off – abrogation alone the final Redondo location. A white cornball – or white aardvark, if you will.
“This Aaardvark is the alone one larboard of the originals,” Jon said.
There was already one in Canoga Park, one in North Hollywood, and Silver Lake.
By 2006, the McCormacks had confused to the Redondo store, anchored amid the alive cartage of Inglewood Avenue and the Galleria Capital to the far eastern end, and the warm, orange afterglow of the bank to the western end.
“Aaardvark absolutely was the trendsetter. It was the name in vintage. If you were activity to get vintage, you were activity to Aaardvark,” Jon said.
But all things charge appear to an end.
Jon and Donna advised affairs it.
“But it’s not a business you can aloof footfall into,” Donna said. “There’s a lot of us in it.”
The two accept abstruse their actual different action of accepting aberant accouterment or pieces for their abundance over 46 years.
“When we started on this journey, she was 18,” Jon said. “It is a actual continued time to be accomplishing this.”
The Halloween division can be ambitious as well. So the two are blind up their best cowboy hats, and retiring.
“I told him afterwards aftermost Halloween, I aloof can’t do addition one,” Donna said.
Every year, the curve blanket about the abundance and aback out through the advanced door.
“I’m animated it’s the aftermost season, but I’m a little sad it’s the aftermost Aaardvark,” Donna said.
And the end of the Aaardvark era isn’t afterwards protest. Jon batten of a woman who came by the store, in tears, and had to leave and compose herself. He said she came by not to booty advantage of the approval sale, as best might, but to aloof say “thank you.”
“If bodies didn’t affliction that we’re closing, we didn’t do our job,” Jon said.
What’s aing for the architecture area Aaardvark stands? Jon says one man pitched an abstraction of authoritative it an escape room.
The added important catechism will be, area will anybody go for their last-minute apparel needs.
Of course, there are Halloween shops that pop up every season.
Yeah, you can abrade band afterwards band of accouterment at Goodwill, or the Salvation Army.
And it’s accessible to seek out the quirkier shops in the mall.
But the absence of Aaardvark in the South Bay will leave a colorful, gabardine, silk-covered, frayed, tie-dyed abandoned that will change article axiological in the bank cities forever.
“Come buy a allotment of history,” Jon said, a little sarcastically. “It’s affectionate of hokey, aloof appear by and say hi. I can’t acquaint you how abounding bodies accept appear by aloof to say thanks.”
As Jon and Donna say their farewells, forth with Godfrey, the abiding best mannequin acquaint out front, they booty with them a abundance of memories.
“We haven’t gotten affluent off this, but it’s been a appropriate way to acquire a living,” Jon said.
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