The Airstream Reincarnated
WEB-EXCLUSIVE: These local businesses have given new life to the classic Airstream.
Some things never go out of style and the Airstream trailer is one of them. The streamlined silver bullet is the tweed Chanel suit of recreational vehicles. It even inspired several Airstream owners to start a camping club in the 1950s called The Airstreamers that still operates to this day. But Airstreams aren’t just for trips to Yosemite. Here are a few repurposed Airstreams out for a second spin and a second life in Orange County.
This record store is parked at The LAB Antimall in Costa Mesa where owners and operators Parker Macy and Jonathan Staph sell vinyl records, tapes and eight-tracks out of a 1957 baby blue Airstream. The chrome-trimmed beauty seemed like the perfect space to expand the unique concept from the small stand inside the Seed People's Market across the street. “Outside everything is under $3,” Macy says, “inside is where we keep the Gucci Gucci stuff. We carry new releases like The Black Keys, The White Stripes and Radiohead for the kiddies." Macy, who began collecting records at a young age, says, "Since I was like, in middle school I wanted to have a record store with velvet bins.” Some of their favorite artists include The Beatles, whose lyrics lend themselves to the shop's name and Leanard Cohen, who spins on their turntable as Macy types up price tags on an old typewriter with quips below the price point such as, “Mmmmm... Creamy.” They both enjoy the visual appeal the Airstream lends. “We have little kids walking by, their moms dragging them along and all they want to do is touch it or go inside of it and investigate it,” Staph says. “So we’re getting them young!” The two hope to expand the business and explore the vehicle-as-store-front concept further - perhaps a double-decker bus.
714.932.0552 :: cremetangerinerecords.com
Conceptualized and opened by Chuck Flynn, the man behind The Kitsch Bar and The Rooster Café, The Chuckwagon is a stripped down 1971 Airstream trailer that’s been transformed into an industrial kitchen. “I wanted to explore the mobile aspect of the business, without getting on the food truck bandwagon or having to sling some trendy version of tacos on a street corner,” he says. A year or two later he came across the 1971 24-foot Tradewind and as Flynn puts it, “liberated it from the hipsters of Austin, Texas.” Flynn and Chef D. Scott Brandon (formerly of Oysters and founding partner and chef of Corona del Mar’s Crow Bar) are only doing private events and catering, cooking up anything you can think of. They plan to do monthly pop-up events in various warehouses in the industrial frontiers of Orange County starting in January. “These will be prix fixed, by-reservation-only affairs. E-mail us on our website to be in the loop,” Flynn says.
Organic Designs by Aggelige
Artist and entrepreneur Aggelige Spanos sells her green art out of a 1968 Land Yacht parked at The CAMP in Costa Mesa. Like a hipper version of your grandma’s overgrown garden, Organic Designs harmoniously blends art with nature, recycling more than the Airstream. Spanos creates unique arrangements using succulents and cacti and pots them in repurposed containers, vintage pots and ceramics made by local artists. “These were always things I wanted to give as gifts and couldn’t find the nurseries or stores,” says Spanos. With a background in fine arts, her hobby soon became a business and she had a small storefront in San Clemente for a year before relocating to The CAMP. Organic Designs also specializes in Tillandsias, or air plants that grow without soil while attached to other plants. “They’re very low maintenance,” says Spanos. You can buy them in terrariums, which hang festively around the Airstream or buy them individually. Or if you don’t have a green thumb, check out her selection of original art. “I carry four local artists' nature-inspired art with a modern twist," she says. And she likes the Airstream better than her old store. “I like it a lot better because it’s all open and the plants are much happier.”
714.662.7996 :: thecampsite.com