1980’s memorabilia is so hot, just one year after opening its doors Rancho Cordova’s Back to the 80s Store & More is preparing for the future with a fall relocation and expansion to accommodate a larger collection, as well as a new retro video game arcade for all ages during the day and a 21-and over nightclub.
“It’s been an amazing year,” says Christopher Knecht, 39, who opened the store in March of 2016 after a career in the restaurant management industry. His store’s success mirrors what’s going on across the memorabilia sector nationwide. While clothing, jewelry and housewares are losing some market share to online retailers who can offer fast shipping and steep discounts, brick and mortar memorabilia stores remain somewhat insulated. Sales for the store tripled in the first three months and have increased 30 percent in the last quarter.
“I think people want to come in to the store and have an experience that you can’t get online,” said Knecht. “They can buy stuff on eBay or another site, but customers tell me all the time they love buying in person because they want to see what we have and have a personal experience of nostalgia, not just for themselves but also with their kids.”
The store offers a vast collection of 1980s era collectables, including band posters from the likes of Duran Duran and The Bangles, walls of plush E.T. toys and others from the era, replicas of Pee Wee Herman’s fuzzy blue chair, Star Wars memorabilia, vintage T-shirts, retro jewelry, sunglasses and other totally awesome accessories, as well as trading cards, toys, candy and drinks. On third Saturdays, the store features a parking lot party with celebrity guests, art, cover bands, food trucks and a costume contest.
Knecht has secured a lease for a 4,000 square foot space near the current location. He’s planning for a fall grand re-opening and will be significantly expanding his memorabilia collection. But the new space will be more than just a store. Knecht is bringing in roughly 60 vintage arcade games, including Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man and old school Xbox with dual controls, and will be running the space as a family arcade and store during the day for all ages. There also will be TVs throughout the new store, blasting out retro music videos and classic cartoons, as well as a Slush Puppie machine.
“You gotta love the original Slush Puppy,” Knecht said.
After 9 p.m., the store and arcade will shift to a 21-and-over music venue called “Club Retro” with a full bar and live bands dedicated to the era. Berlin, perhaps most famous for its break out hit “The Metro,” is already signed on for a performance, and there are plans for monthly concerts with other heavy hitters, such as Tears for Fears and The B-52s, as well as weekly gigs featuring 80s tribute bands.
“I am reliving my own youth in this adventure,” says Knecht, who explained he got his start in the shop when his father passed on a collectables business to him after inheriting an antique business from his father before him. “My grandfather really started all of this, and then my dad took it over. He would buy antiques and vintage stuff, but he also would buy us toys and things as kids, and when he did, he often bought two of them. That’s how the collection started growing.”
When Knecht took over the business from his father he knew he wanted to focus on the era of his own youth. The collection in the store is only a fraction of what he and his father amassed and the collection changes weekly. With sales as brisk as they are, Knecht said he’s more than ready to move to larger digs.
“We have already been working with the city for permits and they have been just great to us,” Knecht said, adding that the current location will remain open as construction and final touches are put on the new store and club, which he anticipates will happen in late fall.
“We hope to be up-and-running in the new location in November.”
While sales have far exceeded his expectations, Knecht said the store is truly a labor of love. To be able to expand and take the business to a new level, he says, are simply icing on the cake.
“I didn’t put any of this together to get rich,” Knecht said. “I’m doing this to create an experience. If I can get someone to say to me that they were having a rough day but that coming into the store brought a smile to their face, that’s what makes it all worthwhile for me.”
A recent report by the California Department of Finance listed the City of Rancho Cordova as the fastest growing city in Sacramento County last year. In 2016, Rancho Cordova’s population grew by 2.2% from 72,203 to 73,847.
City officials expect the population to continue to grow with families and professionals from diverse backgrounds moving to Rancho Cordova. Hundreds of new homes are being constructed, and with Rio Del Oro and other projects, the City has plans for the construction of thousands of homes for the future. The City of Rancho Cordova also estimates that 20 new schools will be constructed over the next two decades, which officials say is one reason parents, and future parents, are attracted to Rancho Cordova.
Rancho Cordova continues to attract members of the business community with its competitive commercial and industrial property rent prices and progressive, business-friendly environment. In addition to housing, school, and business development, Rancho Cordova City Manager, Cyrus Abhar, says the City’s central location and over 100 events bring residents together to create an inviting community.
The City of Rancho Cordova spends millions of federal, state and local dollars on public works projects annually, but several large-scale projects have converged this year, making 2017 one of the biggest funding years for capital improvements the City has had to date.
Multiple projects, totaling over $15 million, are already under construction. The City expects several more multi-million dollar projects that are currently in the design phase to begin construction within the year, accounting for a total of $25 million in infrastructure improvements. The funding is designated primarily for street, sidewalk and traffic signal enhancements.
“Our project goal is to make the City of Rancho Cordova an even safer and more beautiful community,” said city Public Works Director Albert Stricker.
One of the largest price tags belongs to the 2017 Street Rehabilitation Project that includes rehabilitating residential streets with new asphalt and making sidewalk and storm water upgrades in various neighborhoods. The $4.2 million project, supported by the City’s Community Enhancement Fund, will begin construction in May.
Other projects include repairing damaged or broken sidewalks in various locations to improve pedestrian walkability, and installing a new signal at the intersection of Justinian Drive and Sunrise Boulevard to improve access and traffic safety to and from the Anatolia neighborhood and nearby parks. Landscaping and beautification projects, such as murals, are also planned for heavily traveled roads, including Sunrise and Folsom Boulevards.
“The significant investment the City is making demonstrates our commitment to creating walkable, connected neighborhoods and safe routes, while also beautifying Rancho Cordova,” said City Manager Cyrus Abhar. Abhar credits the Rancho Cordova City Council’s dedication to public safety and the City’s competitive grant application submissions for the funding they’ve been able to secure for projects implemented each year. “Since we became a City in 2003, we’ve made incredible progress in improving our public infrastructure,” he said.
Additional information on public works projects in Rancho Cordova is available on the City’s website and online, interactive map by visiting www.CityofRanchoCordova.org/CurrentProjects.
Students from Cordova High School (CHS) recently won places at the 2017 Student Education Video Awards (SEVA). The students are enrolled the Cordova High Media Program, according to Science & Media teacher Josh Creeger. In an initial email to the Folsom Cordova Unified School District (FCUSD), Creeger wrote, “Ryan Scott and myself just wanted to share some awesome news with you about some stellar Media Students.”
Creeger, who is also the CHS Director of Activities said, “We have two sections (periods) and two levels, Media 1 and 2. One hundred kids applied for the two sections next year. So it is pretty popular.” Another CHS instructor Ryan Scott, Lead Instructor for the CHS Business Technology Academy, is also actively involved. “If me or Mr. Scott had more room in our schedule, we would open another period. We had to do an interview type process for next year,” commented Creeger.
The competition award ceremony was held at Sac State and typically receives entries from approximately 20 area high schools. This year’s competition was heavy, with more than 500 entries from all around Sacramento. There are five categories: Documentary, News Story, Creative Expression, Public Service Announcement and Instructional. “We were blown away how well our kids did! We had five finalists [from] a top five of anywhere from 30-80 videos and two SEVAs, [the] top award!”
“Mostly it is juniors and seniors and they learn the aspects of film, video editing, sound editing and broadcasting. We run two broadcasts a week with anchors going over announcements and we include news stories the kids make along with other videos they create,” Creeger stated. “From Measure N we got funded to build the room and we have some video cameras and mics the kids use for their videos and we have a whole green-screen news studio we use for the broadcasts.”
Producer Daniel Belous won a SEVA in the Instructional 9-12 category: How to Change a Flat Tire. Producer Anna Yeghiazaryan won a SEVA for her PSA about domestic violence for her video #HeLovesYouNot. Other video finalists from Cordova High included: Documentary: Nathan Shelton and Wendy Martinez: “The True Story of High School”; Instructional: Jessica Sittion: “Everyday Makeup Tutorial”; PSA: Jason Novik: “Please Stop Littering”
“When you see these Lancers,” urged Creeger, “give ‘em a high five!”
For more information on the CHS Media Program, contact Josh Creeger at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the SEVA website at www.secctv.org/2017-seva-featurette.
An important project to improve the nature of urban runoff in the Cordova Creek area has been overseen for the past two years by the Department of Water Resources and Department of Regional Parks. The Cordova Creek Naturalization Project is designed to restore the creek, develop recreational use, and offer a nature study area.
This unique concept has caught the eye of Sacramento Environmental Commission, which awarded the project an award for demonstrating “outstanding environmental stewardship” on April 17.
The Cordova Creek Naturalization Project gave the area a much-needed face-lift by removing an existing trapezoidal-shaped concrete channel, and replacing it with a natural winding channel that complements the current land use. It also offers a functioning, living stream that improves the environment.
This wasn’t an easy fix. Due to the size of the project, it was divided into two phases. The first phase began June 2015 with the second phase starting April 2016, and has transformed the creek into a natural riparian corridor. The new design includes reintroducing native trees, shrubs and groundcover along the stream banks, wetland areas and surrounding uplands. The Cordova Creek Naturalization Project augments 80 acres of recently restored riparian woodlands and native grasslands to the west, and the 50-acre Soil Born Farm and native plant nursery to the east. This includes a walking trail with interpretive signs to provide the public access from the Dedo Way River Access to the American River Parkway.
The Project was developed by a partner group, including Sacramento County Departments of Water Resources & Regional Parks, Water Forum, Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency, City of Rancho Cordova, Soil Born Farms and California Native Plant Society.
The public will get a chance to learn more about the project at a grand opening of the Cordova Creek Naturalization Project on May 21, 2017. See more at: www.saccounty.net/news/latest-news/Pages/Cordova-Creek-Naturalization-Project-Recognized.
Rancho Cordova's Police Activities League (PAL) Youth Leadership Council will be hosting the Motivational Leadership Academy on Saturday, May 27th from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event, titled G.R.I.T - Great Role Models & Inspiring Teens, aims to empower 100 youth to see themselves as role models and recognize their ability to inspire others.
The event is supported by the City of Rancho Cordova’s Community Enhancement Fund and is free to participants. Pre-registration is required and check in begins at 8:30 a.m.in the American River Room at Rancho Cordova City Hall, 2729 Prospect Park Dr. The event is limited to students from grade 7 to 12. Lunch will be provided by Chick-Fil-A.
Registration deadline is May 15th. For more information, contact PAL at (916) 875-9627 or visit www.rcpdpal.com.
Rancho Cordova City Hall, in partnership with nonprofit group PRO Youth and Families, will launch “Summer at City Hall,” a 4-week internship program for incoming high school juniors and seniors who live within City of Rancho Cordova boundaries.
The program provides personal and professional development, as well as civic engagement lessons and activities about local government. Interns will have the opportunity to gain valuable work experience and make a difference in the community. The program runs from June 26th through July 20th. Interested students must apply by May 26th.
For more information or to apply, visit proyouthandfamilies.org/WP2/sample-page/summer_opportunities/