Recently opened collectibles store in Auburn is blast from the past

By: Gloria Young,
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Trasport’s Vintage Collectables & Thrift store
Where: 1330 Grass Valley Highway, Auburn (Pioneer Center)
Phone: (530) 906-6838
Hours:  11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday


Collecting memorabilia has been a passion for Auburn resident Tommy Trasport since childhood.
Trasport calls it “picking” and over the years he has amassed an assortment of treasures that provide a pretty good snapshot of life in the 1950s and ’60s.  
“(They appeal to) people who are my age and want stuff they had when they were growing up – toys, pictures, phonographs, cigarette lighters,” he said.
The hobby began when his family was packing up belongings to move from Pennsylvania to Los Angeles, where Trasport’s father had purchased a fish and chips franchise.
“I said I wanted to go through the attic before we left and I found some old picture frames up there,” he said.
During his teen years he’d search through castoffs and yard sales to find items to refurbish and resell. His method of searching for collectibles is much the same today.
“Mostly I buy from people I meet who have things for sale in their houses,” he said. If the store doesn't have something a customer is looking for, he'll find it, Trasport added.
Now he and his brother Lou Trasport have opened Trasport’s Vintage Collectables & Thrift store in Auburn. Lou Trasport, who enjoys making things, used packing pallets to build a number of the display tables for the inventory.
One of the items on display in the store is a 1950s-era Disney record player with a picture of Mickey Mouse. It plays 45 rpm records and there’s a stack of them for sale, too. Nearby is a 1940s slide projector, still in good working order, with circular picture disks of Yellowstone, Bugs Bunny and Tweety Bird. A hi fi from the 1960s fills the store with music from ’60s and ’70s LPs. A rack of comic books in the back includes some with certificates of authenticity.
One wall holds a display of lanterns of varying age. There’s a collection of 1950s’ Grenadier cream sherry decanters. There are fishing lures and duck decoys.
“I love everything in the store,” Tommy Trasport said. “I have to like it or I wouldn’t buy it.”
Grass Valley residents John and Leray Kindelsperger, who are also collectors, are among the visitors who stop in to browse.  
“It’s actually quite different and I love it,” Leray said about the store.
Her husband agreed.
“It’s the first time I’ve seen a vintage store (that offered) coffee and cookies,” he said. “The thing about this shop is it is dusted and clean. It looks like they care about the collection.”
The store also offers a little bit of personal history. Near the cash register are two photographs of Tommy Trasport standing with a dance partner and dressed in a suit reminiscent of the movie “Saturday Night Fever.”
It was taken at the high point of his time as a competitive dancer in the disco days when he won first prize in the syndicated TV contest Dance Fever in 1979. He competed against dancers from across the nation in an elimination-format show. The grand prize was $25,000.
“It was sort of like ‘American Idol’ is today,” he said.
Trasport’s dancing career included two appearances on the Merv Griffin TV show and a performance as an opening act at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.
As a picker, one of Trasport’s most memorable finds was a Tiffany lamp he purchased at a yard sale – although he didn’t realize the value of what he had until later.
“It had 16 tulips on it. It looked like fireworks going off,” he said.
It wasn’t until a piece of glass fell off and had to be replaced that he learned it was a Tiffany lamp. He ended up selling for many times what he paid for it, he said.
In addition to “picking,” the brothers enjoy hunting and fishing. In fact, that’s what brought them to Auburn.
“It reminded us of home in Pennsylvania,” Lou Trasport said.
Both brothers work at Magnussen’s Auburn Toyota. Tommy Trasport is in sales and Lou Trasport is the Internet manager. The store is within view of the dealership parking lot.
One of Tommy Trasport’s favorite TV programs is “American Pickers.”
“That’s me to a T,” he said. “We find beauty in old stuff.”