Woolworth offers food and antiques

Denise Gonzales

Stumbling upon a vintage treasure trove with reasonable prices is an anomaly in downtown Bakersfield thrift and antique stores. During these economic times, however, Bakersfield residents have the opportunity to shop in their town’s local second-hand shops for necessities.

One of the oldest antique stores in town reopened their old-fashioned style diner in the Five and Dime Antique Mall in the old Woolworth building downtown located at 1400 19th St.

Jeremy Trammell is now the person in charge of the ’50s style diner.

“I have six years in the restaurant business here in Bakersfield and in Los Angeles,” said Trammell. “We opened our diner just two weeks ago and are expecting a great turnout.”

After years of bad ownership with previous diner managing, Trammell and brother Joseph Trammell are taking the time and thought to make this diner a great place for all to enjoy.

Woolworth’s Diner includes an old-fashioned ’50s theme with the styles of cuisine to follow. The menu includes burgers, a mix of cold and hot sandwiches, numerous flavors of floats and their famous soda fountain.

“At this point, the antique store attracts itself and that is how our diner gets the attention,” said Trammell. “I plan to attract the downtown business employees since we are a lunch cafe. I also plan to spread the word out to the community by promotional coupons, fliers and announcing the new ownership.”

The first Woolworth store was built in 1879 in Wilmington, Delaware. It was not until 1935 when 23 more stores were built throughout the United States. Throughout a long period of time, most of the Woolworth buildings have been utilized and transformed into new businesses, including the California Fashion Mall in Birmingham, Ala., a House of Blues in Cleveland, the Oxnard Experi-Mental Café. Some are used for condos, furniture and hardware store and some have stayed as reworked original Woolworth buildings.

The Bakersfield Woolworth was built in 1939 and opened its doors on December 1994, owned by S.W. Woolworth. This building houses the Five and Dime Antique Mall that includes four floors of thrift and antiques items and their famous old-fashioned styled diner. The building is now owned by Mark and Linda Sheffield.

Evelyn Merriman is the current manager with a background in retail.

“We have 55,000 square feet of floor space,” said Merriman. “The way the antique mall works is by renting spaces out to individuals who are interested to sell their antiques. We currently have 115 venders and they rent the floor space by the square foot.”

Venders then choose and pay for their space to showcase and sell their own personal thrift and antiques or bought items from estate sells. The venders mark their items to their preferred pricing.

“I think the secondary market, antique shops, is the answer for customers who want to buy quality things at reduced prices,” said Merriman. “The quality of vintage furniture of years ago is better than it is now, I believe.”

The current owners, Mark and Linda Sheffield, plan to keep the Woolworth building open and keep its tradition of selling second-hand items to individuals.

Claire Hale is an employee at Woolworth and a BC student.

“I absolutely love working at Woolworth,” said Hale. “I enjoy meeting the customers that go in because they teach me so much about antique items they are looking for. I strongly encourage young college students to go in and shop at second-hand shops for vintage clothing and furniture.”