From vinyl records, to 1930s crystal earrings, to an oversized Coors Light sign, Alley Katz antique store can make anyone take a 45-minute flashback into one’s own unique history.
Dubbed the Best of Amarillo for antique shops in 2008, “Alley Katz Antiques” holds decades of childhood memories for travelers passing by on Route 66.
On historic “Sixth Street,” actually Sixth Avenue, Alley Katz is the largest antique shop on the block housing 1,200 square feet of memorabilia and 70 antique dealers.
Co-owners Stan and Patsye Dodge, both Amarillo natives, purchased the shop almost five years ago and continue to welcome tourists each day from across the world.
“During the tourist season, we get a lot of global people,” Stan said. “We get tourists from Europe, Asia, Australia, Japan—just about every place. They all want to drive down old Route 66 to see a part of our American history, and they can definitely find it here.”
The 2-story building not only holds historic memorabilia, but also a rich history itself.
Built in the 1920s, the Alley Katz building was once a boarding house upstairs and held several small businesses downstairs. The downstairs was once home to an insurance office, second hand store, barber shop and recording studio.
The Dodges have learned about the history of their business through customers stopping in.
Patsye said that she had always wondered about the oddly shaped upstairs room, until an older man came in who had worked in it when it was a recording studio.
For Stan and Patsye, the diversity that walks through their doors each day is what makes their job most enjoyable.
“Meeting people from different cultures, backgrounds and from different parts of the country is an enlightening experience,” Stan said.
Not everybody thinks or acts like West Texas people. Their speech is different, their mannerisms are different—but it’s enjoyable to meet different people and talk to them. We are lucky to have a lot of people like that here, because of Route 66.”
The antique store has even attracted celeb Maureen “Marcia Brady” McCormick and on his 66th birthday, Paul McCartney stopped on Amarillo’s Sixth street.
Before The Dodges purchased Alley Katz, Stan worked as a Physical Education teacher at Lamar Elementary for 37 years and Patsye worked as a hairdresser.
Before the couple bought the store, Patsye was a vendor in the store.
She has always had an interest in going to estate sales and finding treasures, while her husband has only recently joined her passion. A few times a year, the couple travels to flea markets on buying trips.
“It gets in your blood,” Patsye said. “We both love it. I didn’t know my husband would pick it up like he has, but he really loves it. The whole 15 years I was here before we bought it, he was probably in here two times, now I can’t keep him away.”
Though antiquing and eating are the main attractions of Sixth Street, the atmosphere is changing with different kinds of businesses popping up along the historic route such as coffee shops and gaming stores.
While tourists have found the uniqueness Route 66 has to offer, Patsye said people in Amarillo have yet to find it.
“That’s the big deal—people in Amarillo don’t come down here unless they have out -of-town company,” Patsye said. “People in Amarillo don’t come here, but we have all these travelers. They fly in, rent a car in Chicago and drive all the way to Los Angeles to travel Route 66. People in Amarillo don’t seem to know what a neat thing we’ve got here.”
Whoever finds their way to Sixth Street, The Dodges will continue making a place for their customers to sit down and remember their past.
“It’s just fun down here,” Patsye said. “We have very few grumpy people. Mostly, everybody’s having fun and remembering the old days.”
The store will have its Spring Open House this Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on May 1 and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on May 2.