The Canned Ham Vintage shop is one of Sarasota's best hidden shopping treasures.
In both its 1963 Shasta Camper and its permanent location on Seventh Street in the Rosemary District, owner Ashley Rogers--who's also the founder of the popular new Rosemary District Indie Market--has created a wonderland of vintage jewelry, fashion, furniture and home decor. The items are not just ethical, thanks to their vintage status, they're also unique and wearable.
“I really think of the store as a curated collection,” Rogers says.
Rogers lives and wears her passion. She looks completely comfortable among her pieces and is a perfect model for the clothes. “Today I'm wearing a ‘50s dress with ‘70s jewelry,” Rogers says. “That gives [the outfit] a fresher feel.”
It also helps customers visualize what the clothes look like in real life, since Rogers is there as an example.
“My own style is very eclectic,” she explains. “I don’t get recognized all the time, because I look so different every day. I like ‘40s to ‘70s [-era clothing], but I like ‘80s and '90s, too. I mix them up."
She says that individual pieces are the building blocks to creating a special look, and that she's had a lifelong interest in fashion. Her first experience with vintage occurred when she was visiting a friend of her grandmother’s.
“When I was very young, a woman named Kitty gave me my first vintage hat,” Rogers recalls. “It created a monster.”
Wherever Rogers travels, she's on the lookout for vintage finds. Canned Ham’s pieces come from all over the country. “Every town is different," she says.
She says that certain items, such as men’s clothing, are hard to come by, so she's particularly excited when she finds them. “We traveled to Nashville last year to buy eight cases of men’s clothing from a company that was going out of business,” Rogers says. “And on an almost weekly basis, we have gentlemen that come in and say, ‘OK, what did you get me?’”
Many other pieces come from individual collectors.
“I had a collector who had several storage units,” Rogers says. “She’d been collecting for years and used to have a vintage store. She came to me to sell some of her pieces.”
Canned Ham Vintage is run by Rogers and her mother, Cheri McNulty.
“[My mother and I] are business partners,” Rogers says. “The other half of the store, the furniture and the art, is actually [provided by] a partner, Jesse [Sturtevant].” Sturtevant owns a store called Braden River Antiques in Bradenton. He's been in business since 2005, both buying and selling. “We collaborated to do this larger space,” Rogers explains.
Rogers and Sturtevant’s styles blend so seamlessly that when you look around the shop, it’s surprising that there are multiple perspectives involved. Yet the sheer amount of items in the store makes that more apparent. Every rooms boasts not only racks of clothes and displays of handbags and jewelry, but also tables, brightly patterned sofas and home accessories. The store feels almost like an interactive museum. Everything is beautiful and in pristine condition, but the items are meant to be fun, not taken too seriously.
Rogers says the type of shoppers who visit Canned Ham Vintage vary.
“I had six girls come in here looking for cotillion dresses,” Rogers says. “But I also have a lot of ladies come in who grew up with this clothing in the ‘50s and ‘60s. My regular type of customer is someone who goes to lots of social functions and wants to look unique and stand out. She wants to wear something you can't find anywhere else."
Canned Ham Vintage
1435 Seventh St., Sarasota