2017 UPDATE: The gals at Mommalicious have moved on to other places, and this location is now Madcap and Company (still a cool spot.) – Alicia is now part of The Telltale Dress, they are on Etsy and soon opening in the Keppel Building across the street. My Aunt Debbie is showing off her creative creations at the Scarlet Willow a few stores down, and Smilin’ Gal’s vintage clothing can be found a few stops down as well, at Building Character. So happy to see them all still in this creative neighborhood!
Original 2009 Post / For Posterity:
As you can see from some of the photo posts I’ve made, RRH (RetroRoadHusband) and I have been doing some traveling, and that can put a cramp on the time I have to write about some of the neat places I’ve visited lately.
I’ve been eager for some down time to give one of my very fave places my undivided attention, and that is why it’s been a wait between my visit to the wonderful vintage shop Mommalicious / Smilin’ Gal / My Aunt Debbie in downtown Lancaster PA and this writeup. I wanted to make sure I had the time and concentration to be able to convey how swell this place is!
The store is really 3 shops under one roof with three keen gals running it. All three owners take pride in the fact that their wares are either hand made or hand picked, with each being very particular about what they bring into the store. The items are co-mingled with the others, creating a wonderful (gah, I almost used that worky word, synergy) melange of overlapping wonderfulness of vintage clothing, vintage housewares and jewelry & clothing crafted with vintage goodies.As the Mommalicious website states nicely:
“An eclectic mix of vintage home furnishings & accessories, vintage clothing & fashion accessories, oddities and quirky stuff”
“Mommalicious!” exclaimed by a dear pal of owner Alicia Byler when Alicia had a bun in the oven a few years ago. “Mom Alicia” kept the moniker and now uses it to brand the website for the store, along with her portion of the business.Dealing mainly with housewares and home furnishings, Alicia has a wonderful eye for combining the classy with the kitsch, showing the fun and colorful side of vintage, not the stuffy and straight-laced.
Smilin’ Gal is Kris Spader, who is responsible for the majority of vintage clothing and fashion accessories in the shop. Thoughtfully organized by size, there’s something for vintage boys and girls here, and the prices are very reasonable.
The vintage clothing is hand picked by Kris for it’s “wearableness” and ability to mix and match with contemporary pieces. I’ve got my mind’s eye on a vintage dress I tried on when I was in the shop, and if it is as Joan Holloway as I remember it, I just may have to make a return visit!
As a quick aside one thing I just love about this shop is that the gals are genuinely friendly and pleasant to each person entering, treating customers like pals that they just haven’t met yet. This simple gesture made me feel like I could spend all day in the store (which I kinda did) but more importantly, made me eager to return. As anyone in business knows, it can be a feat to get repeat customers, but I bet that this shop has no problem with that.
I did not have a chance to meet My Aunt Debbie during my afternoon in the bustling shop, but I am sure we’d get along marvelously, just based on seeing her wonderfully fun and funky designs. I think Aunt Debbie (Debbie Serdy) herself sums it up better than I ever could:
Remember your favorite Aunt who showed you how to finger paint with your toes, dyed your hair fuchsia, and took you to your first rock concert? My designs are like that.
My Aunt Debbie makes great pop art jewelry with whatever strikes her fancy, appliques shirts with found art and finds the beauty and style in just about everything.
My sisters are probably wary of the fact that I’m so smitten with the Aunt who dyes kids’ hair fuchsia, but if I am not that aunt (yet) I can certainly admire My Aunt Debbie’s creativity, sense of humor and aesthetic.
The store itself is a bouquet of happy adjectives: Spacious, bright, cheery, relaxed, colorful. The way things are displayed shows us how easy and fun it is to mix and match eras and items to express your individual style.
Open every day including Sunday, you’re bound to run into one of these swell gals who make this place a worthwhile vintage shopping destination. Lancaster has got a host of cool old vintage and funky places to check out, so spend the day!