In the opening track from his debut 1973 studio album Closing Time Tom Waits sings about “feeling alive” and “so holy” as he drives a 1955 Cadillac.
The rock classic, titled Ol’ 55, has meant different things to different people over the years. To Glassell Park resident Phil D’Amour, the song is evocative of mid-century life.
So when D’Amour decided to open a modern vintage store in Eagle Rock, he named it after the Waits masterpiece—Old 55.
“I thought it was the perfect name for a store,” says D’Amour, who sells mid-century furniture, wares, electronics and art in a cozy, two-room space formerly occupied by an eyewear business whose name, coincidentally, also echoed vintage: Old Focals.
Old 55, which had its grand opening last Saturday, Aug. 18, is an eye-catching store located on the edge of a shopping gallery where the hair salon Sunday Morning recently opened.
Most of the store’s merchandise is from the 50s and the 60s, “but we’ll sometimes do 40s—and up to the 70s,” says D’Amour. He runs the store along with his spouse Stacie, an interior designer who worked in the vintage retail sector for several years.
The stretch of Colorado Boulevard where Old 55 sits is peppered with prominent businesses that attract a great deal of foot traffic. , with its popular sidewalk dining, is just one store west, and within spitting distance.
“This corner in particular is a really great corner,” says D’Amour. “A lot of great people come here and we want to be part of that.”
A former post-production supervisor in television, D’Amour says he’s “always been heavy into all things vintage.” His favorite music is from the 40s, 50s and 60s and his own home is full of vintage electronics and furniture.
“My wife showed me that it’s actually possible to make a living doing something that I love,” says D’Amour, adding: “She had the experience, I had the passion—we kind of put it together and this is what we got.”
The result so far? “Our favorite compliment is that we’re a well-curated shop,” says D’Amour. “Of course, it’s packed to the gills right now, but that’s what we like to think ourselves as.”
Perhaps Old 55’s greatest attraction is that it manages to strike a balance between aesthetics and commerce.
As D'Amour puts it: “You can think of any one of these items in your home because it feels like home when you come in here.”
Old 55, 2120 Colorado Blvd., (323) 254-2560, www.old-55.com