Residing within the parameters of Downtown Fullerton has always been a boon. We live next door to the pulse of the city, so we don’t worry about the heinous task of driving or parking to enjoy a restaurant meal or after dinner cocktails. We’ve walked the main arteries of Harbor, Chapman, Commonwealth and Lemon countless times. We’ve done it through rain, wind and sometimes hail. Most evenings the hurried jaunt from point A to point B is a mindless blur — mainly because the scenery hasn’t really changed much.
On a more loitering type of night, we had to stop and take notice of something that was different along the route on Commonwealth Avenue. We knew that Roadkill Boutique existed as an enduring business in the community (17 years, in fact), but it seemed to have grown. Upon closer inspection, we became sure that it was a bigger shop. Of course, we had to investigate.
What we discovered was that essentially, in the past 3 years, Roadkill Boutique had grown a Siamese sister called Roadkill Ranch. While both share some of the same vital organs, they definitely possess their own unique personalities. For over two decades we’ve all known Roadkill Boutique to be somewhat of a free spirit; she with her Boho style, vintage leanings and ironic humor. Roadkill Ranch, on the other hand, is more of a spitfire; she straddles the fence between the more retro and musically-influenced Rockabilly and the vamp and glitz of a Hollywood pin-up girl. With proprietor Julie Rasmussen and her dream team crew, somehow the two siblings are able to co-exist in a relationship that is both complementary and distinctive.
The story goes that Rasmussen (who has had an ardent love affair with Vogue and the fashion world since the age of twelve) used to be a buyer at Nordstrom. After contracting the seven-year itch, she and her husband Robert began the wholesale business of making leather jewelry. They decided to open a boutique in Orange where they sold his leather goods together with hand-picked, vintage clothing and accessories for both men and women. The first Roadkill store opened in 1993 and soon relocated to Fullerton in 1995 where it currently holds court.
Over its almost two decade run, Roadkill Boutique has evolved immensely and is now stocked with new vintage-inspired merchandise and one-of-a-kind pieces. Aside from the apparel aspect, its walls are also lined with quirky items (like you would find at Urban Outfitters), funky jewelry, revolving artwork and a huge selection of exceptional greeting cards.
On the other side of the threshold, Roadkill Ranch boasts such labels as Pendleton, Heartbreaker Fashion (which we’ve featured previously), Hold Steady and Bettie Paige. You can also find books on iconic fashion and silver screen illuminati and a hunka shrine dedicated to The King. There is an incredible water fall accent on their wall (constructed by Robert Rassmussen) which defines a spa-like niche of the store, laden with aromatherapy and luxurious lotions with which to pamper yourself.
3 Questions with Julie Rasmussen:
1. Inquiring minds want to know, why the name Roadkill?
We started off as a vintage store in 1993 with my husband’s handmade leather jewelry. The name made sense at the time because we were taking clothing and other items that others had tossed to the side (aka roadkill) and reselling them. And our main focus was on leather jewelry at the time so Roadkill seemed like the perfect name. A name you wont forget. Now that we’ve grown into a little higher end and all new boutique we just don’t change the name. It’s our roots.
2. As one of the main stops on the route, what can we expect at the shop for this upcoming Art Walk?
For Feb Art Walk we have the amazing works of photographer Adam Petrasek.
3. Ms. Fashionista, could you please tell us more about your terrific new blog, RoadkillGirl?
Since I’m addicted to fashion, I wanted to have an outlet that was focused on the industry as a whole. It’s my personal take on what’s going on and sometimes my day to day life as a boutique owner. I just like to keep it fresh and I hope people enjoy my little bits.
Thank you, Julie!
Roadkill Ranch and Roadkill Boutique are proponents of the Shop Small movement and are constantly updating their inventory with fabulous finds. With so many wonderful things in their mini-emporium, why would you even think of schlepping yourself to the mall?
Roadkill Ranch and Roadkill Boutique: Two Souls, One Heart.
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