Situated inside a warehouse in West Deptford is a monument to America in the 20th century that had its grand opening on March 24: the Vintage Magazine Shoppe and Nostalgia Center.
The facility boasts 130,000 publications like Time and Newsweek, among others, that represent every decade of the century, from the dawn of the 1900s to the onset of the Y2K era in 2000. Some still publish; many others don’t.
The center’s owner, Fran DiBacco, started the venture as a side business to his role as chairman and CEO of the F. E. DiBacco financial consulting firm.
“The center is dedicated to the greatest generation during the greatest century in the greatest country in the world,” he noted. “With the 130,000 magazines (their weight totals 25 tons) and 8,000 square feet of magazine covers, posters, and photographs, it’s an Iconic tour of America.
“We’ve broken it down by each decade of the 20th century,” DiBacco added, “so you can see American ingenuity, the heroism of our veterans and how a “melting pot” of people sought the American dream to be all you can be.”
Along with magazines that feature major figures from the past, patrons can also see life-size cutouts of some of the people who helped shape America during the century, real and fictional. They include Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe and Dorothy, the fictional heroine of The Wizard of Oz.
The goal of the center is to educate with nostalgia, says the facility’s website, but it also will remind visitors that one of the most powerful forms of media from 1900 to 1960, the weekly news magazine, is now mostly defunct.
“Our mission is to reconnect these lost treasures to Baby Boomers and introduce the under-40 group to the way America survived in the ‘non-electronic’ paper world,” the site claims.
“Young and old can go back to the future by holding in their hands a 70-year-old antique magazine, absorbing all of the colorful ads; the brilliant artwork; the stunning photos; and amazing articles about the people, places and events of the 20th century.”