Business

Sisters' Riverside vintage shop aims for low-cost, cool

Shawn and Earth Kerr don't just finish each other's sentences.

The sisters compose whole paragraphs together, one taking up a thread of conversation as soon as the other pauses to breathe — or to laugh.

Their sense of togetherness and style is on display at Rock Star Boxer, the vintage thrift shop they opened in Riverside last fall.

If their faces look familiar to longtime Riverside residents, they should. The Kerrs grew up in the neighborhood and attended its schools. Although they don't live there now, it was their first choice for a business location.

"We love Riverside," Earth said.

"This is where we grew up happy," Shawn said.

Rock Star Boxer sells the kind of stuff that makes the sisters happy — clothing, furniture and other items with a vintage feel. Most items are priced from $2 to $25.

"We've heavy on designers — Ralph Lauren, Yves Saint Laurent," Earth said.

"And we like interesting things, like old lamps, art and furniture," Shawn said.

"If it's cool," Earth said.

"Something we'd put in our own house," Shawn said.

Last week, the inventory included a Ralph Lauren dress oxford shirt for $10 (estimated retail, $65), a red Oscar de la Renta blouse for $22 (estimated retail, $80) and a pair of Timberline boots for $10 (estimated retail, $80).

A couple from Riverside walked out with a dining room table for $45. "I'll be back," the wife called over her shoulder as they left.

The Kerrs get most of their items from garage and estate sales, replenishing their stock each week. They're longtime customers of thrift stores themselves.

"Our friends were always like, 'Where did you get that? I never find anything like that,' " Earth said.

The sisters bring some expertise to the job. Earth worked in retail for years, while Shawn arranged department store displays. The latter talent is evident in the shop's artistically arranged windows, which wrap around the northwest corner of 13th and Perry.

"Our windows are our focal point," Shawn said. "That's how we get people's attention."

The sisters also have the skills to make minor repairs to clothing and furniture, whether it's sewing on buttons or reupholstering and painting a chair.

In the current economy, they said, opening a thrift store makes sense. But only if the prices are right.

"A lot of places charge outrageous prices," Earth said. "We just want a fair price for something good."

The self-described best friends actually have a third partner in the shop who inspired its name — a dog with a bit of an attitude.

"Our boxer thinks he's a rock star," Shawn said.

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