Small businesses thrive during Vintage Days


One of the many vendors at Vintage Days. (Blake Wolf/The Collegian)

By Jazmin Alvarado, Reporter

Harmony Tie-Dyes, a tie-dye clothing business based in Modesto, California, has had a booth at Fresno State’s Vintage Days for over 35 years.

The business is owned by Brian, Heather and Onyx Gleser and has been in their family since 1979, having been passed on for two generations. Brian Gleser said he is currently in the process of teaching his son the nooks and crannies of their work.

“We’ve been at this festival since the early 80s. It’s been a long legacy of us doing this, and we’ve had customers that have come back for the past 30 years here,” Brian said.

Brian hand makes everything, while his wife, Heather, does the designing, and together they tie-dye everything by hand.

April 16, was the final day of Vintage Days 2023. The three-day event was held from Friday to Sunday in the parking lots next to the Resnick Student Union.

The event featured small businesses, food, live music, games, student organizations and community resources.

Vintage Days allows small businesses and campus organizations to promote their products while earning funds and clientele.

A custom woodcarving booth at Vintage Days. (Blake Wolf/The Collegian)

The businesses that participate in Vintage Days come back every year because of the benefits and opportunities the festival provides them.

“My favorite part about Vintage Days is that it’s a kid show. We get to see the kids grow year after year. This year we had families come back this year who are now bringing their kids to see our stuff. To see the generational process is so fantastic,” Brian Gleser said.

He said he continues to come back because Vintage Days is a festival he knows his family can count on every year. Brian explained that he always expects an invitation to attend and continues to be met with friendly people.

Cheryl Bitzer, the creator of Sew Purrrfect Creations, said she comes to Vintage Days because she loves the area and has loyal customers.

“I bought an item from her a few years back and I can tell her products are of great quality. Since I’ve bought from her in the past, I know I can count on her creations so I keep coming back,” said Marc Few, a returning customer.

For organizations on campus, Vintage Days allows them to fundraise for their future events and trips.

The American Society of Civil Engineers won first place for best food booth at Vintage Days. It sold fresas con crema and aguas frescas.

“The funds are going towards our fall banquet where our members can sit with professionals in the field and make connections. This is where we get all our money for events and competitions,” said Sonia Yanez, the president of ASCE.

For the Nickerson family, Vintage Days is a place for them to give back to their community. Nick Nickerson runs Nick’s All Natural Salpe, and Tricia Nickerson owns Flights of Fancy, a nature photography business.

“The only reason I’m here is because I spent six years creating a pain relief salvant. I have found that if I can expose people to this and relieve their pain then that’s what I want to do. It’s all about helping the people out, I don’t care about the money,” Nick said.

Kirsten Casey, a Fresno State alumna, runs and owns jewelry shop Blue Lotus. She has been making jewelry since she was 12 years old and turned it into a business 12 years ago.

“When I went to Fresno State, everyone told me to go to Vintage Days, and I never did. Now that I’m a vendor here, it’s become a home show to me, and I want to be here every year,” Casey said.

Heavenly Butterfly Bakery is owned and operated by Diane Rouse. She was inspired to start the business after her daughter passed away from cancer. Her color scheme is different shades of purple to honor her daughter.

“The business is all about my daughter who passed away from cancer in 2021. She was our butterfly. She was disabled when she was born, and we watched her come out of her cocoon and she was my inspiration for everything,” Rouse said.

Vintage Days not only welcomes people from the Central Valley, it also attracts people from all over the country.

Kristen Allison, who runs Nature’s Window, travels to Vintage Days annually from Henderson, Nevada.

Her business features natural home fragrance products such as wreaths, garlands and potpourri made from dehydrated plant items, according to its business card.

“My favorite part about Vintage Days is the people. The clientele that I have built in the last eight years here is 80% of my online business. The hardworking people of Fresno don’t mind spending a dollar to support people in their home businesses,” Allison said.