Sunnyside pet store owner creates 1950s exhibit
Sept. 2, By Christian Murray
Abdel Rios, the owner of Skillman Pets, is an avid historian—particularly when it comes to 20th Century Americana.
Rios has created an elaborate 1950s exhibit in the front window of his 49-16 Skillman Avenue store. “People love nostalgia,” Rios said. “It gives them something to talk about and it puts a smile on their face.”
Inside his front window, Rios has items such as a 1950s television, a record player, a camera, clock, coffee pot, cigarette liter, one-speed blender and more. He has spent a great deal of time on eBay in pursuit of items such as a 1950s school sweater and jacket.
“I’m like a tour guide,” Rios said, adding that he enjoys showcasing all of his items. He has a Mr. Potato Head (which came on the scene in the ‘50s), an early edition of Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat, and 1950s roller skates.
The front window is also covered with posters of the Honeymooners, Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball and other icons.
“It took me 6 ½ hours to set it all up,” Rios said. “Some people get confused when the realize we are a pet store but I just enjoy people taking a look.”
His exhibit is likely to stay up for another month.
Last year, Rios had an elaborate WWII exhibit in his front war in honor of Memorial Day. At the time, he had items such as combat helmets, US Army jackets, radio sets and a 48-star US Flag to reflect the age.
He said he has one more exhibit left. “I will do the ‘60s,” he said. “I have a news paper with the headline ‘Man Lands on the Moon’ and I will base it around that.”
He doesn’t have an opening date.