Collective Past, longstanding downtown store, permanently closes

Antique shop opened in 1997

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MAINSTAY CLOSES Jack Graham sweeps inside the now former Collective Past in downtown Gilroy, which is having its inventory auctioned by Garlic City Auction. Photo: Erik Chalhoub

For nearly 23 years, collectors have flocked to Collective Past in downtown Gilroy to browse its numerous shelves of rare vintage items.

But the store, owned by Linda Graham, has become a casualty of the Covid-19 outbreak and the ensuing business shutdowns.

The 7495 Monterey St. antique store, which closed its doors on March 17 in response to Santa Clara County’s shelter in place order, will not reopen, Graham confirmed.

Over the past couple of weeks, Garlic City Auction has been selling off the wall-to-wall inventory inside the 6,000-square-foot building.

Jack Graham said when Collective Past opened in September 1997, there were 11 antique stores in downtown Gilroy. In March, four remained.

“There’s been a slow decline in business,” he said. “The virus pretty much did it in.”

The store was stocked with everything from furniture, to plates, posters, toys, jewelry and every type of vintage item imaginable. It also offered space for other vendors to sell their wares.

“This was fun,” Jack Graham said. “You don’t get rich, but it was a lot of fun.”

He said it was difficult to leave behind the downtown community after more than two decades in business.

“After all these years you got to be part of the downtown community,” Graham said. “It hurts to leave it.”

All small businesses are feeling the brunt of the extended closures, as mounting rent costs with little to no revenue coming in making it difficult for them to survive.

The Gilroy Downtown Business Association launched the Gilroy Save Your Fave Challenge at gilroyfavesgiftcards.com, which allows shoppers to purchase gift cards at Gilroy businesses to be used at a later time.

The growing website aims to give businesses a much-needed infusion of cash during a time when they are forced to be closed.

The downtown association has been organizing virtual “cash mobs” every week to encourage shoppers to support the businesses. Participants are asked to purchase at least a $25 gift card to a business, which rotates weekly, and share on Facebook that they have done so. They will then be entered into a drawing for a prize.

For information, visit facebook.com/DowntownGilroy.