I got invited to a birthday party on Monday and I just realized I haven’t been to one of my favorite local shops in over a year now. This happenstance of events can only lead to one eventuality and that eventuality of course is: Birthday Shop Hop At Urban Artifacts!
Urban Artifacts is located on Sheridan, just off of Main Street and as you can see from the signage outside, it’s open! But before we go in, let’s look at the outside of the store and do a little window shopping.
I love the little Sputnik orb thing-a-ma-jiggy on top of the building and there’s some really fun stuff happening in the windows. There’s the Sunbeam logo, a memory from when this building was actually a Sunbeam bread and bakery building! And check out the Dog ‘n Suds menu and carhop, you won’t see those in any shop at the mall! I love how the neighborhood is also reflected in the windows, which in turn reflects the shop’s name, Urban Artifacts! Okay, let’s go in and go birthday gift shopping!
The moment you walk in here it’s just sensory overload to the nth degree. There’s so many interesting items and things to look at! It’s a little overwhelming!
So I went back to the sales counter and saw Gina standing behind it! Jon Walker, who owns Urban Artifacts was out for the afternoon and Gina was running the shop. That’s lucky for us, because Gina’s a lot prettier than Jon, but don’t tell him that! I told Gina a few facts about the birthday person and she said she’d help me find a cool gift.
And so it’s off we go into the wild blue yonder known as Urban Artifacts. There’s so much to be seen here, I thought I’d separate it into neat little sections, so here they are!
Giant Things, Signs and Huge Letters
There’s some big things in here, like that Bob’s Big Boy up at the top! There’s also fun signs, gas pumps and giant letters strewn about the store. If you are interested in any of this kind of merchandise, I hope you either have a pickup truck or know someone that does!
Music Music Music!
There’s a lot of music-related items for sale in here. Some of it is vintage like those used albums and cassettes, some of it is new, like that turntable and some of it is furniture, like that RCA couch. So there!
Local Peoriacentric Stuff
If you were born and raised here or if you just want to get a sense of Peoria’s pop culture and kitsch history, this is the place to find those memories. They have the popular 101 Thing That Play in Peoria book by MBIP pal, Phil Luciano, t-shirts with retro logos by Bygone Brand, and there’s high school, restaurant and Heart of Illinois memorabilia as well.
Jon’s wife Angie has her own section of the store called, “Urban Girl.” It’s loaded with fun things like unique socks, t-shirts, jewelry, lamps and cards geared more for a woman’s taste. But I like this stuff too, so I guess I’m a little bit of a girly man, oh well, what are you going to do? At least Hans and Franz are off the air, so I don’t have to worry about them. Angie is also the publisher and editor of the LOOP.Peoria publication and facecrack page and you can check that out right here.
So much of the merchandise in here doesn’t fall into any category, so here’s a few that fit into the “Potpourri” category. I’ve only scratched the surface here, there’s so much more interesting inventory in the store you need to just go and see all of it for yourself. Allow yourself at least an hour though, this place is hard to leave because you keep seeing stuff that draws you back in as you try and head towards the exit sign!
As I was getting ready to check out, I met Martell in the store. He had never been to Urban Artifacts and he was blown away by the store and the never-ending unique inventory in here. He posed for the MBIP Camera with Gina, Pee Wee, Kermit and Miss Piggy.
Alright, with Gina’s help, I found what I think is a great birthday gift. It’s actually pictured in one of the photos above and I’ll reveal it and the birthday person as a bonus photo on Tuesday, stay tuned for that!
Thanks to Gina for the help and for hanging out with me and goodnight Urban Artifacts, see you on the next shopping expedition! We’ll see you all tomorrow!
925 N. Sheridan Road