ECHO PARK — On the day before she died last December at age 97, antiques and vintage shop owner Minnette King was still talking to vendors and dealers about potential purchases and sales. “She was wheeling and dealing until the end,” said Victoria Thor, manager of King’s Sunset Boulevard store. Now, Minnette’s Antiques Etc is preparing to close up later this month nearly half a century after it opened and helped establish an “Antiques Row” along Sunset Boulevard.
The Minneapolis native and her husband moved to Echo Park sometime in the 1930s or 1940s, according to Thor, who also served as King’s care giver. King had been trained as an actress, playing mostly minor character roles, including an appearance on My Three Sons. But in the mid 1960s she decided to get into the antiques business, opening a store on the border of Echo Park and Silver Lake. Minnette’s Antique Etc. eventually became part of a small cluster of antique, vintage and thrift shops that have closed or moved away in recent years. Minnette’s, however, remained, selling everything from Native American jewelry to furniture to Pork Pie hats in a dark and crowded shop.
But late last year shortly before her death, the store moved into a smaller space next door in the face of a rent increase. Thor said she tried to keep Minnette’s in business after King’s death but was not been able to attract sufficient investment. King’s sons, who live out of the state, were not interested in keeping the store going, she said. The shop is scheduled to lose on June 28 following a sale to clear out merchandise.
Some of King’s customers who have been shopping at the store for decades have been returning to say goodbye, Thor said. “It just breaks my heart,” she said.