There’s a time machine located in Champaign, and it is hidden in plain sight at 118 East University Avenue. Go Retro, owned and operated by Matthew Peckham, has been in business since 2012. From the outside, one might see an unassuming, two story white building with a black canopy. There may even be a racing tire sitting conspicuously by the front door. It is when one enters the shop that the journey through the mists of time begins.
Peckham, who has been in the antique business since childhood, has one goal in mind for his customers. “I want them to find the thing they had when they were a kid. When customers come in, they tell me that they feel like they’re reliving their childhood” Peckham explained.
Peckham’s ever-changing inventory spans multiple generations. Whether it’s toys from the 80’s, clothing from the 60’s, or even license plates from the 20’s, the odds are pretty good that visitors will find something that will quickly take them on a ride down memory lane.
The store could easily function as a museum of sorts, with the notable exception that (almost) everything is for sale. “You want people to be able to see the history,” Peckham explained. “You don’t want it to be hidden in a box”.
Don’t expect to be able to just run in and out of the store — Go Retro isn’t that kind of shop. There is an incredible amount to see, there are stories to be told, and there are fond memories to be re-lived.
Go Midtown. Go shopping. Go Retro.