San Dimas, Calif.: Bonita Antiques offers upscale merchandise, historic setting

Tropical design, Hawaiiana, and elegant, dark-hued furniture are what makes Bonita Antiques, a single dealer shop in San Dimas, Calif., notable to antiques collectors.

Bonita Antiques occupies a shop among eight other antique stores in a historic area of San Dimas, Calif.; other neighboring businesses include a tea parlor, a historic museum and train depot, and a wine tasting shop. One of Bonita’s owners, Kathie Acosta, who owns the shop with her husband, Sam, and two friends, Linda and Bill Labrecque, said their location in the historic heart of town helps draw tourists. “We also have several nice hotels in town so a lot of tourists stop by our shop,” she noted. “We’re right off I-210 and I-57.”

Acosta said their shop has a lot of antique furniture for sale, “everything from country to cottage to arts and crafts styles,” she said. “We also have a nice selection of English teacups and china, plus Japanese china, which I believe will be pretty big soon.”

The shop also offers a large selection of black Americana items, as well as holiday items dating to the early 1900s, especially those dealing with Halloween. Other items include German diecuts, country crockery, ladies’ mesh and beaded handbags, and a wide selection of pottery, artwork, lithos and graphics.

In addition to their 1,500-square-foot shop, Acosta says Bonita Antiques also has a space at the Pasadena City College Flea Market on the first Sunday of each month, and exhibits at Redondo Beach’s annual Island Beach Show, where according to Acosta, a lot of their Hawaiiana material gets snapped up.

Acosta has been in the antiques business for 23 years, operating Kathie’s Keepsakes for more than 20 years in the Orange Tree Antique Mall. Bonita Antiques opened on St. Patrick’s Day of this year. Acosta said since her husband retired, they enjoy traveling around the country together to find merchandise for their shop. “We have a slight antique addiction,” she said. “But finding the stuff is the fun part and what keeps us active. We recently found a 140-year-old armoire during a trip to Laughlin, Nevada.”

And as sad as it sounds, she pointed out, “Every day someone dies and the remaining family members don’t cherish that person’s collection like he or she did. So we dig for goods, looking in every antique mall and attending lots of estate sales and flea markets.”

Acosta said she believes modern collectibles and furniture are “really coming into their own,” and that more American oak from the turn of the twentieth century is selling again. “We have sold a lot of bedroom and dining room sets in American oak,” she noted. “I believe the day of people buying junk is going away. Ours is a higher standard shop offering upscale merchandise, and that’s what people are buying.”

She added, “The days of having a lot of stuff in a collection are past – now it’s more selective collecting. People are choosy about what they put in their collections. They’re looking for interesting items with charm.”