As We See It

The Attic vintage shop is closing again—probably forever

The Attic located in Downtown Las Vegas specializes in selling vintage clothing and novelty items.
Photo: Joe Schoenmann
Molly O'Donnell

It seems that the old Reddy Ice Factory will be the last spot we’ll see Las Vegas staple vintage clothing shop the Attic, and not because Mayra Politis’ store has recovered its former success in its new home.

The owner of the Attic has had her share of heartache over the last few years. A 2010 NV Energy explosion left her business in shambles and store mascot Mojo the parrot traumatized. After launching a very public battle with NV Energy over the damages, Politis reopened across the street, but then closed again. Eventually, she arrived at what she felt was her only option: a move to the building she owned at 1010 N. Main Street.

Politis says the Attic was finally starting to come back at the new location. “I’ve put a lot of effort, time and money into not letting the Attic die, making the decision to leave the Arts District and come over here, but I do miss 18b. My place was viable there for 20 years,” she says.

With the same large-scale setup that worked so well for so long in the Arts District, the new Attic featured fashions from the 1940s to ’80s and retro-inspired and funky finds perfect for everything from themed weddings to a night out on the town to a Halloween costume party.

The substation next to the former location of the Attic exploded and caught fire July 11, 2010, destroying Mayra Politis' longstanding vintage store. 

The substation next to the former location of the Attic exploded and caught fire July 11, 2010, destroying Mayra Politis' longstanding vintage store. '

At the end of the day, though, Politis says, “Business has been very slow since the beginning of summer. After meeting with my accountant this past week, there’s no way to make this viable. I’ve tried, but I’m not rich. This is my livelihood, and I can’t afford to keep throwing good money after bad.”

Certainly the appearance of the new digs isn’t to blame: an old factory, with an original metal spiral staircase next door, where Politis eventually wanted to have a café. The large warehouse features a façade of quirky row homes and businesses that are easily inviting. “I wanted it to look like a little city, so when people walk by, they feel like there’s much more than what’s here now,” she explains.

So why wasn’t the Attic’s newest iteration successful? Politis points to the location. “The truth of it is, I’m the Lone Ranger out here. People just aren’t willing to come to this area, and the people already in the area are just coming for social services or to go to the smoke shop.

“We just had a couple come in that was having a ’70s wedding. We called for a ride when they were done, but I ended up giving them a lift myself because we couldn’t get a cab out here. A two-hour wait … I said, ‘You could drive across the Valley and back in that amount of time.’”

Politis says the Attic did reasonably brisk business over the winter, and she was brainstorming plans to increase sales. “I thought about starting a shuttle service where if you’re at Fremont or the Arts District, I’ll come get you and bring you back. Honestly, the bulk of my business has always been from tourists. I’ve had a lot of people from Austin, Texas, tell me that they’re happy to find a place that’s not picked over and reasonably priced, that still has some $5 items.”

The local network of vintage retailers also sent a few customers her way. “We all still help each other out. I had a customer come in the other day who was referred by the vintage shop on Fremont, and I always tell people about Patina and Amberjoy’s,” says Politis.

Sadly, Las Vegans won’t be able to see some of Politis’ favorite finds, like the late-’50s Salvador Dalí purse with a light switch inside. And gone are the patent leather pumps in a hard-to-find size 13 for the mysterious man Politis helped for years.

We will have one last chance to say goodbye and score some good deals. Politis is planning a 50 percent-off sale followed by a total liquidation to recoup some of what was lost. “We’ll sell everything we can, including the light fixtures.”

After various revivals over the years, it’s tempting to think this won’t really be the last we see of the Attic. But Politis sounds serious when she says, “This is my last time. I’m not Cher. At least no one can say I didn’t try.”

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