Where 78s (and VHS tapes) still play

If anyone is in a musical mood the next time the power goes out, Grasons may have just the thing.

The consignment store at 18281 Gothard St., which held its grand opening Saturday, offers among its diverse wares an old — very old — record player that operates without electricity. To hear a selection, just slap a 78 rpm record on the turntable, wind up the crank and set the needle down.

"Oh, yeah, it plays," said store assistant and web manager Victor Burke, who has tried it with some of the many 78s in Grasons' stock.

The 2,600-square-foot shop, tucked near the back corner of a small complex near the Huntington Beach Central Library, features a selection of 20th and 21st century history. In addition to the record player, which Grasons obtained from a donor in Fountain Valley, the shop offers early televisions, typewriters and radios — plus more modern antiquities like VHS tapes.

Co-owner Simone Kelly, who runs the real estate company QKS Inc., started Grasons in July as a facilitator for people looking to unload possessions, plus a secondhand goods supplier for those needing to furnish new homes.

Until Saturday, though, Grasons had functioned merely as a stockroom at the complex on Gothard Street. The store, which opened two doors down, features navigable shelves and an eclectic array of items on display.

It also features something most consignment stores likely don't have: a celebrity backer. Darrell Sheets, one of the bidders on the A&E reality show "Storage Wars," is a friend of Kelly's ex-husband, and he attended the opening to meet the public.

The show, which debuted in 2010, follows Sheets and others as they bid on the contents of abandoned storage lockers.

Sheets has sold about half a dozen lockers' worth of material to Grasons since it opened, Kelly said.

Given the often-chaotic nature of storage lockers, it can take time to convert the contents into presentable merchandise.

"A storage unit is just a pile, so we have to go through each book, each letter, everything, organize it and make sure there aren't any guns or knives," Kelly said. "We don't sell any items that could harm others."

Aside from the lockers, the store receives materials for numerous sources — particularly estate sales, which Grasons holds once a week. After the sales, the store stocks the unsold materials for 60 days, then either donates them, lowers the price or returns them to the original owners.

Grasons accepts just about any items in usable condition, according to Burke, who sometimes joins colleagues in setting up booths at the Golden West College swap meet.

"Nothing's really junk until you look at it and see the damage," he said.


Twitter: @MichaelMillerHB

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