Gulfport's Vintage Flamingo full of rare finds

Vintage Flamingo is new and old.

It's open just four days a month and every nook and corner of the building in Gulfport is filled with recycled, repurposed and vintage furniture and decor.

After a soft opening in April and another four-day opening in May, Vintage Flamingo is ready for its grand opening this week.

The ribbon cutting for the store at 2701 14th Ave. off Pass Road is at 1:30 p.m. Friday and refreshments will be served. The store will be open every second Thursday through Sunday plus during special events near Thanksgiving and Christmas.

"We had to get people used to a once-a-month market," said Sharon Ladner, who owns Vintage Flamingo with Lodie Bailey and Michelle Jacobs. The limited schedule creates demand as shoppers realize that when they see something the like they need to buy it now, she said, or it's not going to be there next month.

The Hancock annex was used years ago to train bank tellers.

"We bought the building from Hancock Bank," Ladner said. They ripped out the wood paneling and shag carpeting, but left the bank vault, They have 31 vendors now, including two in the vault, and are renovating the second floor and taking names of vendors interested in the 10 additional spaces there, she said.

Ladner's father lives in Savannah and she brings home two truckloads a year of antiques and collectibles. Bailey and Jacobs bring more from their trips to Texas. The rest of the building is brimming with treasures bought and made by the vendors, most of whom are local. Ladner has only one booth available and she gets calls every day from prospective vendors.

"We don't have a lease," she said. Vendors, who pay $1.25 cents a square foot, can leave after just one four-day sale, but she said, "We haven't had anyone go."

A mother, daughter and daughter-in-law filled their space just inside the door with fun old kitchen gadgets, a commercial paper cutter and antique furniture. "$139 for a tiger oak desk." Ladner quips, "Where do you get that!"

K&C Creations is a father-daughter booth. He uses reclaimed wood to make old furniture and she adds her colorful art.

French Provincial bedroom sets are big sellers, along with Samsonite luggage sets. Ladner asked, "Who would have known that doilies would be back in fashion?"

From the elegant Louis XVIII settee with four chairs to the kids' seats painted in beach colors, memories and inspiration are everywhere.

Vendor Dee McKaig of Biloxi said, "Garage sales are my addiction." She's already looking at things differently, inspired by the other vendors and what they create.

"Every time I come in here I walk around and see new things," she said. She likes to hear the vendors recall how the items they found were a part of their past.

"A lot of these things have a story," she said.