Joe and Michelle Stroehle from Riverbend Retro: Beautiful blasts from the past
People: Joe and Michelle Stroehle, owners
Place: Riverbend Retro (520 W 2nd Street, Davenport), which carries mid-century modern furniture and home décor.
As of writing, the store is open Tuesday-Friday 11 am - 6 pm and Saturday 10 am - 5 pm (closed Sunday and Monday).
Brendan eyed some beautiful lamps and talked with Joe and Michelle about their downtown Davenport store.
If you're lucky, you have a passion in life that makes you excited to get out of bed every morning. For some people, it's giving tours, weightlifting, or maybe singing (wait - I just listed my passions. Sorry about that).
For Joe and Michelle, though, that passion is mid-century furniture and decor. They sell everything from couches to funky tables to fireplaces and love the thrill of buying new pieces, cleaning them up, and helping them find good homes.
When they first met, Joe was the type of guy who would just go out and buy new furniture if he needed it. However, after learning about Michelle's interest in retro furniture, he quickly discovered a world he never even knew existed. "This stuff is generally so much better and nicer than what you might buy today," he said.
After moving in together, they kept collecting and quickly ran out of room, and Michelle sensed a growing trend. "We knew mid-century modern had become really popular in other parts of the country, although not necessarily here, and there was no store in the Quad Cities selling it," she said.
It was around that time that Mad Men and its style was getting more popular, and although they weren't really sure whether people were going to like what they were selling, they opened their store in LeClaire in 2014. They moved to a larger space in downtown Davenport in 2016, which has given them room to grow and assemble their wares into little scenes of sorts that help you visualize them in your home.
One of the things that surprised me in talking with Joe and Michelle was that their demographic skews fairly young in age. "A lot of people who grew up with this stuff are almost offended that people like it," said Michelle.
However, "a lot of times, I'll go to an auction and will be the only guy bidding on stuff, " Joe said. "So if I'm not there to save it, it's gonna go in a dumpster."
They also put a lot of time and effort into cleaning and restoring items before they put them up for sale. "That's something that sets us apart from a lot of resellers," said Joe.
The couple recommends checking out the rest of downtown Davenport, especially the Freight House Farmers Market.
Thanks, Jim and Michelle! Check out Riverbend Retro in downtown Davenport.
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