Kirb Check: Miss Wonderful brings a unique shopping experience to downtown
Published: Monday, February 18, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 18, 2013 15:02
When I first visited Miss Wonderful back in November, I wanted to get my paws on everything from the musical instrument-covered rocks glasses to the men’s shoes too big for my feet. I eventually did buy those rocks glasses, as well as a bottle opener, a handful of ties and, in my dreams, a coffee table that opens up into a bar.
Opening a midcentury modern vintage shop has been a longtime dream for owner Ann Eastman.
“When I walk across the alley to come to work, I can’t believe this is my job. It’s like we’re playing house and dress-up in here,” she said.
As a more practical choice, Eastman opened Cup of Joe in 1995, a 1950s-themed coffee shop located on the corner of Main and First Street.
“We didn’t know if anything would sell. We weren’t ready to take the plunge (with Miss Wonderful). It just felt riskier,” she said.
After selling the coffee shop six years ago, Eastman took some time off to raise her kids. With an attic, basement and five storage units full of vintage items and the desire to get back to work, Eastman was ready to get her dream of opening a vintage shop underway.
Now three months old, Miss Wonderful continues to be a gemstone of an addition to the downtown area. Eastman enjoys seeing the faces of both the Cup of Joe customers she saw six years ago and the new customers seeking a unique retail experience.
“Older people are so nostalgic, and it’s a walk down memory lane. Younger people, some haven’t even seen vintage before,” said Eastman.
David O’Shields, University of Northern Iowa electronic media professor and longtime friend of the Eastmans, believes that Miss Wonderful is what it is because of the talents and tastes of Ann and her husband Barry Eastman.
“It adds a breath of fresh air to the Main Street shopping experience. Where else can one find vintage clothing, vintage furniture, vintage records, vintage kitchen wear and vintage jewelry? I really love the place,” said O’Shields.
For recent UNI graduate Amber Persinger and fiancé Paul Miller, Miss Wonderful is a go-to place for collectable items. Miller collects vintage lighters and glassware while Persinger appreciates the reasonable price of the vintage Pyrex.
“Miss Wonderful is a really original store that has a lot to offer that no other stores in Cedar Falls can,” said Persinger. “They have a large selection of eclectic items, so it is easy to find a lot of great vintage items that you can’t get without going online and spending a ton of money.”
Whether you’re looking for something to put your weekend beverage in, a long-playing microgroove record or an investment piece like the coffee table/bar combination that I will forever regret not buying, give Miss Wonderful a peek. The shop has looked completely different every time I’ve been in, so stop by and follow the advice of “Parks and Recreation” character Tom Haverford and “treat yo' self.”