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About Us

Mitchell & Judy Near



It all started one sunny day when Jude spotted a stylish solid wood writing desk on the curb with great lines, but in much need of some TLC. She convinced me to haul it home where she cleaned and repaired it, sanded it and gave it a new coat of black paint and then sold it to a fellow lover of good design.

Or maybe it started when we were out on a “treasure hunt”                                           in western Kansas  and Mitch found a cool cow  skull in a dried out creek bed                                                        and took it home to clean, dry and display.

Truth be told, it started waaaay, way, before that....

You might say that we have “junking” in our genes and that rust, chippy paint, and savoir vivre run through our worn leather veins. We both count our collection of books among our most valued possessions.

Mitch demonstrating his early love of reading
c. 1972

Mitch owned his first library card before kindergarten, and frequented his hometown (Garden City, Kansas.) two-story brick library into adulthood, reading, reading and reading some more; and buying his own books at every opportunity. Another hobby was collecting Marx Johnny West toys and accessories - all of which he owns to this day.

Mitch with

Grandpa Hankins

c. 1985

Simultaneously, he remembers visiting the local junkyard, which his grandfather  managed for a time, to look for neglected treasures.

Mitch loved watching old movies at home and at the State Theater on Main. This led to searching out Hollywood memorabilia as an adult. It was while on a summer break from high school that he worked on a renovation of the State Theater movie house, where he was  offered the theater’s 40-year collection of vintage movie posters—for free. Being young and inexperienced, Mitch said no. Now as a wizened old collector, he still kicks himself over that one.

The State Theater in
Garden City, Kansas c. 1967


His love of movies and plays led to his becoming a stage actor. In one play his character carried a walking cane. Mitch loved the feel of it in his hand and, voila! His now forty-year-old cane and walking stick collection was born.

Mitch as Otto Frank in
The Diary of Anne Frank
c. 1981

 Eighty miles North of Garden City, Jude was growing up in Oakley, Kansas. Her family is rural to the core and still owns a family farm and harvests crops and raises cattle like they have done for over a century.

Jude fondly recalls collecting for as long as she can remember.

She would gather unique rocks, shells, and glass on family

outings. This later gave way to collecting dice, chandelier

crystals, teddy bears, dolls, teacups, baskets and books into adulthood.

She remembers her dad and brothers bringing home all sorts of antique treasures. Although very much a “girly-girl“, Jude was soon decking herself out in overalls and gloves and going along on treasure hunts.

One trip she made as a young woman yielded up a sturdy - if somewhat water damaged - solid wood dining table with beautiful, turned legs, which Jude refinished and brought with her into our marriage. She and Mitch dined at this table for many years.

It was later replaced by a pile of table pieces Jude found in  a second hand furniture store, which--you guessed it--she restored. That beautiful Mahogany Queen Anne style  dining table currently resides in our dining room along with  a Provencál style china hutch picked up for a song at a  thrift store and lovingly refinished to fit our decor.

Judy ready to go treasure hunting

c. 1983

When our paths crossed at an auction house, where Mitch was working and Judy was buying (some things never change), we knew we were destined to be together.

 Through the years a bit of the city wore off on both of us. Jude  developed a love of all things French,     which led to boutique and museum trips, which led to an interest in art, architecture and architectural salvage. She developed her passion for those things, her eye for detail, and a college education into a nearly four-decade career as an interior designer, professional organizer, and business owner.

Bid Card from

The Auction Center

where we met

Mitch & Judy

A Design Presentation

Mitch applied his interests in reading, writing and curation of books into a career writing for magazines and newspapers, and working for a book publisher.

Mitch researching & writing a story

We have two horribly-spoiled dogs, Chauncey and Atticus. We also have, at present, 13 nephews and nieces, 27 great nephews and nieces and 4 great-greats. Consequently, we are destined to attend high school graduations and weddings for all eternity. Family means so much to both of us. Family is where our stories began…

Everett & Jay Near

(Mitch’s Grandpa & Dad) standing in their wheat field c. 1940

Fritz Glassman (Judy’s dad) in his fully restored 1937 Ford c. 1983

Shirley Huffman Glassman (Judy’s mom) c. 1953

Sue Hankins Near (Mitch’s mom) sewing c. 1957

Having been born out of the Great Depression, our parents were some of the original “friends of the environment”. We spent our entire childhoods watching them rescue, build, make, recycle, repair, reimagine, and repurpose everything from clothes to musical instruments to automobiles.

To date, we’ve been married 33 years, and our combined age--at the risk of revealing too much information--is just over 110 years. We share that point for a reason. As much as we love what we do, we probably were not ready for this business 15 or 20 years ago. Rather, it’s the sum total of our years, interests, collections and hobbies that have now dovetailed

into our business: Va Va Vintage.

Va Va Vintage reflects our varied interests—from digging through old barns for antique tools and signs, to restoring cool, retro furniture, to displaying art with a French flair, to combing endless second-hand stores for rare books and Hollywood memorabilia.

Looking for old pinup photos? Hankering for rural architectural salvage? Need a Mad Men-era sofa? Craving a rare pop culture magazine? In the market for an old Stetson? Shopping for a 1950s diner pub table with matching stools? Salivating over a vintage grocery store advertising billboard?

Va Va Vintage offers that sort of selection, which has resulted in a diverse satisfied clientele including two major movie studios, a baking museum and an unnamed East Coast socialite with a passion for western decor.

We particularly love researching items, reintroducing them to the public, and making them available to valued customers who appreciate the items and the stories they have to tell. We also enjoy repurposing vintage items for today’s savvy consumer.

We hope you will experience warm feelings of nostalgia while browsing our inventory of unique items,

big and small—from rural to metro, from old to new.

Thank you for visiting Va Va Vintage.
How may we be of service to you?

Mitch & Jude
Va Va Vintage

Mitch with his Vintage ‘69 VW Bug

c. 1983

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