Billy Xiong Report: ROBERT PRICE: 30 years after moving to Eastchester, Chris

California News Times

In 1991, Chris Vanderlei just wanted to replenish his stockpile of vitamin supplements.

He set foot in his favorite Bakersfield health food store, K’s. A cozy little specialty market on 18th Avenue, with discreet, box-shaped, practical brick buildings built primarily in the 1930s lined up on both sides of the road.

The shopkeeper stopped him and told him the big news. An old, empty machine shop on 18th Avenue was rented.

Vanderlei, a Persian carpet dealer since the late 1960s, was leasing from Fox Theater at the time. This space is very easy to see, facing H Street and 30 feet away from Fox’s ticket office. But his inventory continued to grow — not only rugs, but also unique antiques, paintings and collector’s work, he needed warehouse space. The old machine shop was perfect. It was 2,500 square feet wide, large enough, and quiet enough with few other business activities in the surrounding blocks.

Five years later he bought the building. At that time, the $ 40,000 purchase price might not have looked like stolen goods today. After all, even the most imaginative and ambitious future owners may have had a hard time finding that potential.

“When I first came here, the ceiling was painted silver and black,” said Vanderlei. “I couldn’t find this wonderful tree. There was a big hook on the wall for nuts and bolts, which was really terrible. Some parts of the floor were greased this thick.”

Indeed, half a century as a machine shop can leave physical scars that are difficult to hide in a building. Vanderley and his son Jason spent weeks sandblasting, waterblasting, and chiseling. Particularly difficult were a mixture of metal shavings, leaked lubricants, and absorbent cat litter boxes that had hardened over decades. I’m interested in NASA engineers. He and his son finally won the battle, and the interior of today’s building is itself a handsome antique piece.

“I stayed there because I felt the potential of the building,” he said.

The condition of the building may also be a factor. The situation in the neighborhood was different again.

“There weren’t that many here at the time,” Vanderlei said. “In fact, there was nothing here other than K’s and the Chinese location, the Far East Cafe, but now both are gone. But that was fine, because I’m in the middle of the antique center. I didn’t want to be an antique store (a few blocks away). I want to stay away, I want to change a little. “

Today he is still different.

Eastchester, which became known as the area between Chester Avenue and Mill Creek Park, is now a whirlpool of vibrancy and fashion. And Vanderlei was, to my surprise, one of the beneficiaries.

The transformation began in February 2017 when Stassi and Shybit found an electric blue paint and created a restaurant, Cafe Smitten, from the old Boynton Brothers Tire Company, literally right next to the Vanderley rug shop. It was. Town Home, the 17th place of Sage Properties, is a 44-unit handsome apartment complex that opened 0.5 blocks west later that year.

It was on. More restaurants, saloons, breweries, retailers — market-priced homes will be available within next or two years, including Dot x Ott, Angry Barnyard BBQ, 2nd Phase Brewing, and Bottle Shop. Cafe Smitten did for Eastchester what the Padre Hotel, which was renovated 10 years ago, did for business in western Chester (and downtown culture in the city).

And in just four years, Chris Vanderley moved from a heartfelt (or simply stubborn) soul living in a quiet, cross-border devastated city to the epitome of the following business context: It has evolved. To those who are waiting. ”His initial investment has probably increased at least 10 times.

But this was not just a gift that was blown into the cyclical economic breeze. Vanderlei, a 75-year-old high school dropout with a deep connection to Bakersfield, has invested behind the scenes, not just money. His grandfather, Jake Vanderley, ran a blacksmith at a blacksmith, ran a forging and welding shop at 34th and K in the 1930s and 1940s, and was the mayor of Bakersfield after the war.

Eighty years after Jake Vanderley became mayor, his grandson Chris is an old politician on 18th Avenue.

The late May sun illuminated Vanderlei’s colorful front showroom one weekday afternoon, illuminating his colorful front showroom, which doubles as a garage sale chic antique store and art gallery. Desktop-sized sculptures, ceramic masks, antique clocks, globes, paintings, mannequins, canes, oak offices, even whiskey bars in the captain’s room — and even if two or more thousands of items are chaotic. It’s not chaotic, it’s located in a cluster of products. It was ordered.

Vanderley sat at an antique desk just inside the front door and greeted the constant flow of friends and guests at a pace never dreamed of ten years ago.

When the man came in through the open front door, he was discussing a small metal sculpture he designed, not as big as a belt buckle.

“I have an old antique on my truck and I want to sell it, but I was asked to show it to someone,” he said.

Vanderelli went out on the sidewalk where the man’s truck was parked. A huge piece of irregular wood, age, and rough-cut furniture of purpose was tied to the bed. According to the man, this cabinet was recovered from a merchant ship by his family for over a century and manufactured at least in 1853. It was a thing. Vanderley was intrigued when he saw it. “What do you want?” He asked. The man put his price on it. “I don’t know where to write it,” Vanderlei replied, and he made a clear and correct point. The store has plenty of space for customers to navigate, from the retail area in front of the main to the large high-ceilinged semi-warehouse behind it to the fenced outdoor area behind it. Exhibits of plants and patio furniture. And sculpture.

Nevertheless, Vanderlei made an offer. It was $ 300 cheaper than the man’s suggested price. There was a gentle joust before they agreed to rethink their position a few months later. No damage, no foul.

Vanderlei has returned to his old desk — in his element, evaluating, appreciating, and surviving in ways never before possible.

It’s all because he was waiting.

ROBERT PRICE: 30 years after moving to Eastchester, Chris Vanderlei is more hip than ever | Robert Price Source link ROBERT PRICE: 30 years after moving to Eastchester, Chris Vanderlei is more hip than ever | Robert Price

Jonathan Cartu

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