Downtown Alameda is losing a living treasure this month. After more than 60 years in business, Alameda resident and icon Eunice “Pauline” Kelley is closing up shop and retiring. A retirement sale at 1427 Park Street begins on Friday, March 16.
To call Pauline’s Antiques a local institution is an understatement. Pauline’s has been more than just a place for bargain hunters and collectors. Patrons have been frequenting the store on a regular basis for years to chat it up with their neighbors and soak in the friendly and historic atmosphere. Local television legend Bob MacKenzie even made Pauline’s Antiques a regular stop to host his Christmastime broadcasts for many years.
The store has been a labor of love ever since Pauline and her late husband Bob Kelley opened its doors in 1957. Bob had previously been working in the construction field with side jobs hauling trash and cleaning out basements. After accumulating everything from cast iron pots and pans to oak tables and bronze vases, Pauline suggested they just sell the stuff to get rid of it — and that’s how the idea of the store came about.
By assisting customers in selling their collectibles and arranging estate sales, the selection in the store quickly became a massive treasure trove. “Whether you’re looking for it or not, chances are you’ll find it here,” has always been one of Pauline’s favorite quotes.
Pauline’s Antiques has received numerous awards over the years including “Best of the Bay” and “Best of Alameda.” Additionally, Pauline has received much civic recognition for her involvement in the community as well. She was given an Honorary Lifetime Membership in the Alameda Chamber of Commerce and has received the distinguished “Member of the Year“ award by the Park Street Business Association (now known as the Downtown Alameda Business Association). In the 1980’s, Pauline was also awarded “City of Alameda’s Business Woman of the Year” by former Mayor Anne Diament.
Pauline has generously supported local schools and charities throughout the years. One of Pauline’s proudest achievements was her integral role in the Soroptimist Club of Alameda. The organization founded the Alameda Girls Club (now known as as Girls Inc. of the Island City) and Pauline has twice served as president.
Pauline Kelley is truly a one-of-a-kind living treasure. The Board and staff of the Downtown Alameda Business Association wish her well in her next phase of life.