Palace is the Sunnyside neighborhood’s one stop shop for just about everything! Long time vintage dealer Charlotte Wenzel opened Palace about four years ago on S.E. 34th and Belmont. Palace carries the best selection of vintage - all must haves picked out by Charlotte herself. What we love most about Palace is that Wenzel puts new and vintage side by side, the entire store is beautifully color coded. Palace also carries an amazing selection of apothecary, jewelry, footwear and home accessories. So the bottom line is that Palace is pretty much a cooler Target (yes, we are referring to the mega chain) of Southeast Portland, it has everything you could ever want, and we like it that way!
1. Tell us about Palace!
Palace has been open for a little over four years. My background is in vintage, so when the shop first opened I focused on a tightly curated inventory of classic unisex pieces utilizing natural fabrics.
2. What made you decide to open a store front?
It was never the plan to open Palace, but looking back the road started being paved in that direction a long time ago. I grew up thrifting, at first just for myself but eventually my friend Jen and I started going to swap meets and selling the stuff we didn't want to keep for ourselves. Eventually we both moved to Portland and she introduced me to a couple gem spots and I started selling to shops around town and online. My friend Honey and I opened Rad Summer which was a great learning experience because it was the very first brick and mortar location I had been part of, which is so different than online/selling to shops. I left Rad Summer without plans to open another shop, but then-across the street from my apartment, was this great store front-sitting, empty,forever.
It hit me that what I was searching for was a new challenge and that I could find that in a new shop, but doing it differently. I wanted to create a space that felt different than a SHOP. A space that felt warm and familiar, with shopping almost having a secondary feeling. I have always wanted to see new merchandise stocked next to amazing vintage pieces and for them to feel equal in their quality and specialness. I wanted to show the timeless and modernity of vintage, that it didn't have to be limited to 70's polyester and Halloween and that it could be woven into a wardrobe along with great current designer pieces.
3. How did you come up with the name Palace?
I wanted the name of the shop to be one word, and I wanted to it to convey the feeling of special, coveted. A palace to me is this special place that is protected, different from its surroundings, a special little world that once you are in you forget about everything outside. I had actually been listening to a lot of Bonny prince billy, so I think that helped push it to the surface.
4. How do you find designers you showcase in your shop?
It is a mix of hours spent researching lines on the computer, recommendations from customers and lines I have loved for a long time.
5. What are your top 3 favorite things in the store?
Carrier Freres Firewood candle, Binchotan charcoal facial puff, vintage japanese kasuri kimono.
6. Who are your style icons?
Jane Birkin, Henri Matisse, Yohji Yamamoto, and little kids that dress themselves.
7. Where are your favorite places to shop?
Lowell, OKO, Frances May, Una, and Yo! Vintage