Standing in front of an autographed jersey of retired Phoenix Suns guard Raja Bell and a hand-crafted African wooden sculpture, Joey DiMonte has found a way to merge his passion for collecting things with his desire to become a business owner.
DiMonte recently opened Oddz and Endz in Mesa, a store offering an unusual assortment of bric-a-brac and collector’s items.
DiMonte has been a lifelong collector and merchant of unique items since his days growing up in Chicago.
He still has the first item he bought at a garage sale – a porcelain Jesus figure he picked up when he was 9. He keeps it on his bedroom nightstand.
He has stocked his store at 7302 E. Main Street with items that can’t normally be found at traditional thrift and second-hand stores.
Unlike those stores, DiMonte said, Oddz and Endz also offers quality service.
“I’m not trying to compete with thrift stores, or antique malls or anything like that. I’m trying to bring something else completely different to the area. We’re eclectic. I like more unusual different things, like conversation pieces,” he said.
In just over a month since opening, he said, business has started out strong, with people leaving his store with items they did not even come intended to buy.
They also have left their contact information, asking him to be on the lookout for various items they want to add to personal collections.
Because his inventory changes so consistently, DiMonte encourages potential customers to simply come in and check out the items in the store.
“I’d rather have people come into the store, because there will always be different stuff here,” he said. “You might be coming in looking for something in particular but find something else unrelated that you really think is cool. I’ve already had that numerous times.”
As much as DiMonte hopes to grow his store’s popularity, and maybe even expand into a bigger space eventually, the focus is on his love for the art of buying and selling – and collecting.
“I like the stories behind a lot of the pieces. When I’m out looking for items, I like to talk to the people about where the stuff comes from, and their own stories about how they got it. It’s like a type of therapy for me,” he said