There are -- dare we say -- a variety of definitions for the word "variety," and yet they all seem fitting for Gary Reiman and his store.
The retired teacher is once again playing shopkeep with Variety, which opened this summer in downtown Antioch.
The shop features an eclectic inventory, from Mexican pottery and handblown glass vases to wall mirrors and a retro dining set -- all at well-below-retail prices.
This is Reiman's fourth boutique-style store in Antioch. He's owned and operated Joy, the Pantry and another shop called Variety, which all featured consignment goods. Those shops did well, he said, but each time, he wanted to "move on." Before moving to Antioch 16 years ago, Reiman lived in Sausalito on a houseboat -- thus the draw to his current waterfront-view shop.
Up until last winter, he lived in the well-known Beede Manor (the Flamingo House), across from city park, for a dozen years.
After moving to smaller downtown digs, Reiman found himself with plenty of gently-owned goods that no longer fit his home. And so, Variety was reborn.
He delivers a resounding "no" when asked if hoarding spurred this latest venture.
"I'm a buyer," he said. "I've never held onto things for long. I like to change my house around (a lot.)"
Some of his charming scores are found at sales in Benicia and Berkeley, which he "loves," and nice consignment stores.
An instructor for 35 years, Reiman draws from his knowledge
"I really don't follow the rules I teach, though," he admitted.
But, he does like to share his know-how with others, often with complete strangers. On many occasions, he has been known to chat it up with a restaurant owner or small business proprietor.
"They've been receptive and tend to listen," he said. "I enjoy helping," which is probably the teacher in him speaking. He retired from City College of San Francisco in 2009.
Although he'd prefer more customers at Variety, Reiman is too fond of the Delta to have his shop elsewhere.
"It's just slow down here. I've shared my ideas for getting more businesses (downtown) but...," he said. Still, Reiman loves his location and is starting to see more visitors at the cozy shop. "Word-of-mouth is the best." In the meantime, he said he will "continue to talk it up."
He said the store isn't about making big money. "I have a very good retirement." "It's something to do and I (enjoy) talking and meeting different people," he said. His shop includes a sitting area. "There's lots of visiting going on here."
Reiman enjoys staying busy with numerous projects and serving the community. Over the years, he has helped with the El Campanil restoration project and the Antioch Historical Society, and was part of the "original" Antioch Arts & Cultural Foundation.
Once the holidays are over, Reiman will revamp Variety's offerings again. And by spring, he plans to add fresh flowers and garden items to the buying mix.
Contact Trine Gallegos at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IF YOU GO
Where: 107 G St., downtown Antioch
Hours: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays