Time Zone Vintage has always been a store with history, but never like this. “See that room back there?” says co-owner Mike Moya, pointing to a small opening under the staircase with a metal screen in front of it. “That used to be the money room.” It’s currently crowded with stacks of vintage books.

Time Zone Vintage moved to its new location, at 751 W. San Carlos St. in San Jose, last month but officially celebrated its re-opening on Saturday with a block party. Time Zone’s owners also intended the party to kick off what they hope to be a fixture on the local fashion and art scene. Taking advantage of the large lot in the back of the new property, Time Zone took Saturday to celebrate all things vintage, hosting local rockabilly bands, dance troupes, craft vendors, food trucks and a vintage fashion show curated by owner Joann Perez.

Time Zone Vintage has been in existence for 11 years, starting in Berkeley and relocating to the South Bay about three years later. “This is a hotspot,” says Moya. “[San Jose] is a whole different clientele. Everybody is real serious.” San Jose and the South Bay have long been known as a hub for vintage clothing, car and lifestyle enthusiasts. “Even on our best days on Telegraph, we broke our best day down here.” Prior to the new location, Time Zone maintained a store on Park Avenue, until the owner of the current space tipped them off to this location—the famous Black Cat Licorice property off West San Carlos. “This place was notorious as a speakeasy and then a bordello,” says Moya. The building that houses the store still bears prominent marks of its lurid past—small windows in inconveniently high locations and a rambling, Winchester Mystery House kind of layout. The upstairs portion of the store is a gauntlet of small rooms, which now serve as galleries for local vendors like Devil Rose and Out of Print Vintage.

Not only did the building’s history seem to fit perfectly with the tone of the business, its sheer size fed Moya and Perez’s dream of owning more than just a store. With the new, larger space, the two plan to host events that cater to fans of fashion, art and music in the South Bay. “Even in our biggest spaces we’ve never had this kind of venue. … We already have two events booked for this month.” Moya plans to turn some of the space into a photo gallery and workshop, and there’s talk of record swaps and more fashion shows in the future.

Even if the arts program doesn’t pan out (though judging by Saturday’s sturdy turnout, that doesn’t seem likely), Time Zone is still a go-to for vintage shoppers and collectors. Perez, who handles the buying, keeps the store stocked with freshly picked pieces. “She interviews and scrutinizes our vendors. She’s known for that,” says Moya. And there are always buyers who appreciate their scrutiny. “Her concept is just to have really good vintage products. That’s been her concept since day one.”

Time Zone Events
Vintage Flea Market, July 14
Urban Swap Meet, July 28