Revivals is reinventing resale with its award-winning line of new home furnishing
By Daniel Vaillancourt
There’s no wondering why Revivals has won the Best Thrift Store award from no less than four different local competitions: The Desert Sun’s “Best of the Valley” contest, the “Ultimate Pride” match, CV Independent’s Best of Coachella Valley race, and Palm Springs Life’s friendly “Best of the Best” battle. The resale store chain’s broad swath of generous donors guarantees a steady supply of stellar merch, 100% of its profits (some $1 million annually) goes to supporting a charitable organization, and that organization is our community’s nationally recognized and locally beloved Desert AIDS Project. But a victory in the Best New Furniture Store category?
Yes, you read me right. New. Selling never-used items such as bedding is old hat, so to speak, for the 25-year-old retailer. It’s been doing it for more than a decade and a half. But five years ago, the decision was made to get into the new home décor business, and boy, did that idea take off and fly! The venture’s success has been so thundering that what is a wonder is why Revivals is still the only thrift shop in America to feature its own brand of new furniture, lighting, rugs, and accessories.
“We just felt that we wanted to supplement the donated business,” says Revivals Director of Retail Dane Koch, the man credited with further developing the new furniture concept there to a heightened level. “And we saw a real need in the valley for merchandise that was stylish, had good quality, and was affordable.”
Revivals offers home furnishing from more than 50 vendors—including brand names such as Ashley, Diamond, Coaster, and Scott Living (as in, identical twin brothers Andrew Scott and Jonathan Silver Scott of HGTV’s “Property Brothers” fame)—but much of its inventory is custom-made for the store, and all of its selections fall under Revivals’ Mode label. While the Palm Springs shop focuses on all things midcentury modern, the Cathedral City branch trades on value, and the Palm Desert outlet’s assortment is more traditional in style.
According to Koch, the entire valley is snapping up the goods. “I’m always amazed that walking out to one of our parking lots, you’re just as apt to spot a Bentley as you are to see a Yugo,” he says. “I think the big advantage for most people is going to be, number one, the affordability. Secondly, a lot of people know that by shopping at Revivals, they’re supporting DAP. Then there’s the thrill of the hunt. There are some avid shoppers out there who, no matter what their economic status, love a great find at a bargain.”
According to Koch, another big plus is that customers can pick up their treasures right off the showroom floor. And if by chance they do need to order something, the wait is approximately two weeks rather than the two-month backlog at most other new furniture sellers. “What’s also unique about us,” he continues, “is that the typical store goes to market and buys for, let’s say, six months and that’s what they show for the rest of the year. Our inventory changes continually. We’re constantly bringing in new product as it becomes available.”
It’s not just mom and pop and the kids who are lining up at the cash register. NBC Palm Springs recently asked Revivals to freshen up its green room and talk show set. “NBC Palm Springs and Revivals share a commitment to the local community,” says “Desert Living” Executive Producer Guy Farris. “So it made sense to partner as we rolled out a new look for our show.” Even professionals are getting into the game. “I recently helped a client pull his living room together with new paint, lighting, solar shades, and drapes,” says Beau Stinnette, business partner with Dann Foley in Foley & Stinnette Design, and winner of the “Ultimate Pride” Best Interior Designer prize. “He took me into Revivals to look at a new sofa he’d seen and it was the perfect configuration, color, style, and price. So we ordered one and it worked out beautifully.”
Steve Edwards—a semi-retired, 30-year veteran of the education sales industry who most recently ran the sewing class program of both the New York and Los Angeles Mood fabric stores made world-famous by Lifetime’s “Project Runway”—owns an Airbnb vacation home in Palm Springs, 80% of which he furnished with items discovered at Revivals, both used and new. “I have been in hundreds of other retail stores of this type around the world but none comes close to the quality of the products carried by Revivals,” he says, adding that he scours the shop daily, often with guests in tow. “We call our vacation property The Dream Home because it’s filled with items that come from other people’s dream homes, items they’ve donated from the heart to help others. Every object is a part of Palm Springs’ history. Beautiful things in a beautiful home for a beautiful cause.”
So beautiful, in fact, that Edwards’ was the first accommodation in Palm Springs to be certified as an Airbnb Plus property, a designation reserved for homes with not only the highest quality standards but hosts known for great reviews and particular attention to detail. “We certainly attribute a large part of our Airbnb Plus success to Revivals,” he says, noting that the word “revival” signifies something that’s become popular, active, or important again.
Perhaps the best recent news for Revivals is its new partnership with Acme House Company Vacation Rentals, the manager of 142 privately owned properties in Palm Springs and other desert cities who, for the last three years during Modernism Week, has unveiled to great acclaim a newly renovated residence outfitted by West Elm. “We knew we could apply that model to Revivals and show people that you can curate a really cool house with their furnishings,” says Acme Brand Specialist John-Patrick. “We’re heartfelt supporters of Desert AIDS Project, and would like to do whatever we can to further its mission and good works. The fact that they have a retail outlet that sells home furnishings, art, and accessories prompted us to propose the collaboration. It just made perfect sense to us.”
Owned by Anwar Zoueihid and Mark Rasic, the ’70s-inspired Revivals House (as the property will be named) is a collaboration between Acme, Revivals, and a team of interior designers and architects that includes Francie Flynn, Thomas Stallman, Shawn Savage, and Patricia Lockwood. Various other vendor sponsors will provide goods and services to the refurbished home, which will make its debut in late spring 2019. A percentage of the vacation rental income proceeds will benefit DAP.
“I certainly am very proud of my team and what we’ve created in support of the Desert AIDS Project,” concludes Koch. “By growing our business, we’ve upped our contribution to the organization. If we can make our customers’ homes more beautiful to boot, well that’s just an added bonus.”
611 Palm Canyon Dr
Palm Springs, CA 92264