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Eastown native opens local vintage boutique in childhood neighborhood

A mother and daughter duo nestle a vintage shop into Eastown. Flashlight Alley mixes retro furniture, clothing, antiques and home decor in a space next to Yesterdog.
Alicia Menninga

Alicia Menninga /Eric Tank

Underwriting support from:


1507 Wealthy Street

Shop interior

Shop interior /Eric Tank

Shop interior

Shop interior /Eric Tank

If you live in Eastown or tramp the vintage goods markets around Grand Rapids, you may already be familiar with Tulipfox Creations, which has been located in Eastown Antiques nearly since the shop's initial opening about a decade ago.

Behind Tulipfox is a mother and daughter duo, Alice and Alicia Menninga. Alice Menninga immigrated from the Netherlands and her daughter Alicia Menninga grew up in Eastown. Alicia Menninga has been living, working (New Yorker Men's Wear, Wolfgangs and Flashlight retail in the pre explosion Phoenix building) and playing in the neighborhood ever since.

The pair used to rent a space at Eastown Antiques until just recently. When the opportunity to rent the space that once housed the popular coffee shop Morning Star 76, the pair jumped at the chance. The space is next door to the iconic Yesterdog

"We needed more space. We had so much stuff that there was no room for," says Alicia Menninga. 

And so with the relocation practically right around the corner came with it a name change. Enter Flashlight Alley. The name is an homage to Alicia Menninga's late father Doug Menninga, affectionately known as "Flash" and the unofficial "mayor of Eastown" according to his daughter. The alley in Flashlight Alley is similarly close to both mother and daughter's first names. And, coincidentally Alice Menninga's nickname in college was Alley Oop. Her daughter insists that it had no influence on the name, merely a coincidence. 

The daughter is known in her own right as an artist and musician. She's a pianist who started playing at age 6 and began her professional career at 18. Before taking a hiatus to focus her energy on the business she was playing keyboard for local rock band Aria Flame

The mother is the woman behind most of the furniture pieces in the shop. She works the first shift before Alicia Menninga takes the helm in the afternoon. Alicia Menninga's passion lies in the clothing and fashion ware.  

"I just always loved vintage fashion ever since I was a kid," she says enthusiastically. 

Some of the things one might find at Flashlight Alley are hats, shoes and men's and women's clothing. Paintings and vintage prints line the walls and figurines, home decor and antiques pepper the space with nostalgia. 

But Alicia Menninga says she would also like to utilize the space as an entertainment platform for local musicians and possibly hosting vintage fashion shows.

"I would also like local musicians to be able to sell their CDs here as well," she says. "I really want to support local music." 

She envisions Flashlight Alley as a "gathering place." 

"I think Eastown is a great community," says Alicia Menninga. "This has been my dream for a long time, and I'm just really amazed that it's come to fruition."

At this time, Flashlight Alley is doing consignment on furniture only. 

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