Off the Clock

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Magnolia and Willow Antique & Vintage is hosting a “Car Crash Sale” in the section of the store that was severely damaged by a vehicle on July 5. Photo by Kat Schuster

Good morning, shopaholics

We’re going thrifting yet again (see part 1 here). But today, we only have time to go through one shop, simply because there’s so much to say about Magnolia and Willow Antique & Vintage, which has been open in the Wrigley neighborhood for more than 12 years. 

For some background, on July 5, a driver plowed through one of the shop’s walls, destroying tons of antiques and vintage trinkets (footage here). The cosmic irony of this occurring at Magnolia and Willow was not lost on fans of the television series “Nathan For You”, who pointed out that this sounded like the plot of an episode that featured the Wrigley staple.

In 2015, comedian Nathan Fielder famously trolled the antique shop when he proposed this to owner Emily Yep to help her business: exploit the “you break it you buy it” policy by staying open 24 hours a day. 

Antiques, furniture and vintage wall oddities on display at Magnolia and Willow. Photo by Kat Schuster

In case you aren’t familiar with the cult comedy classic television series, its host, Nathan, is this dry, awkward comedian dude who orchestrates bits that are so uncomfortable and ridiculous they (occasionally) end up being hilarious. 

Anyway, when Nathan paid a visit to Long Beach that day, camera crew in tow, he promised to help Emily increase her sales. For Emily’s part, she had no idea what she was getting herself into. 

“The plan: attract late night drunks by staying open 24 hours a day,” he announced. 

I won’t spoil the rest of the episode for you, but essentially, it was effective. Emily is seen sort of mystified during the episode. And understandably so—she was figuring out in real time that it was all a big gag.

Canadian comedian Nathan Fielder of the Comedy Central show “Nathan For You” comes forward as the brainchild of “Dumb Starbucks,” a parody store that resembles a Starbucks. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

“I kind of just tried to roll with the punches and get it over with because they were there filming until almost 4 in the morning,” Emily tells me, laughing. “So I was just trying to get done and do my best to get through it.” 

Luckily, it seems to still be working out for her, even years later.

“It actually has drawn people in,” she says. “We’ve had lots of people that just come in because of the show and want to see the store in person, and typically they will buy a little something kind of as a souvenir of the show, I guess?” 

In the episode, Nathan lures an unsuspecting drunk man from the neighboring PBS Pub & Co (which is still there too) and after somehow convincing him to wear a fat suit, the man barrels through the shop, breaking items left and right—oops (cha-ching). 

The author of this newsletter pays a visit to Magnolia and Willow.

“I mean, the way I see it, if you get the right drunk in here, you could make more in a single night than you do all month,” a straight-faced Nathan said during the episode.

But, in all seriousness, back to the July 5 crash—the “break it you buy it” policy did not cover all of the previous antiques that were destroyed. Emily will have to work with her insurance to cover the cost of the lost items, she told me.

But the shop was able to reopen, and thankfully, the affected section really pales in comparison to the rows and rooms filled with treasures. 

Plus, Emily is having a “Car Crash Sale, where everything in the devastated corner is 50% off. There’s some pretty neat stuff in there. Yours truly was able to bag a cute little gold framed map of Long Beach for $7. But beware, a sign warns: There may still be speckles of glass about from the crash. 

A sign warns customers of glass at Magnolia and Willow Antique & Vintage. Photo by Kat Schuster

The shop is also hosting a massive store-wide sale on Aug. 5. 

The bottom line is: When I set foot in that shop, I knew I’d died and gone to tchotchke heaven. If you’re a thrift junkie like I am, I know you’ll feel similarly.

Pro tip: If you decide to go and really want to pay homage to Nathan’s famed antique shop episode, you can stop by PBS Pub & Co for a drink—but mind your balance when you leave. 

Kat Schuster is the assistant editor for the Long Beach Post. You can reach her at [email protected].