Have you noticed the marquee that reads "Curios by Byron" towering above statues and vintage furniture on North Tamiami Trail across from Ringling College of Art and Design?
Good thing, because it’s about the only way you’ll find out about this thrift shop. Owner Byron Schenk, 81, isn’t interested in an online presence and is driven more by a desire to be surrounded by “stuff he likes" than to make money, he says.
That stuff includes a mish-mash of midcentury furniture, Art Deco statues, vintage lamps, art and a little cast-iron pig with wings that he priced high because he’s so fond of it.
When customers ask if he can come down from the pig's $85 price tag, he responds, “When pigs fly."
Schenk’s Curios used to be located at 821 Apricot Ave.; the new location, where Carr's Corner Cafe used to be, was slated to open in March but got derailed by the pandemic. Schenk, who's been in the business of collecting and selling for about five years, opened his doors a couple of months ago and likes that the shop keeps him busy.
“I don’t want to twiddle my thumbs at home,” he says.
Sculptor Rafael (not so spelled on the marquee) Sanchez adds his own flair to the Curios collection with life-sized statues made of what appear to be old car and appliance parts. As an ode to the pandemic, one of the statues wields a vaccine in one hand, and a 3-D model of the virus in the other. Spot the statue outside the shop as its red cape snaps in the wind, and if you have time, visit Schenk inside.
“I don’t have anything you need, but I probably have something you want,” he says.
Curios by Byron is located at 3025 N. Tamiami Trail and is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. For more information, call (941) 544-2058