By Ben Sanchez
A projection screen flickers with pop culture content on the empty back wall of the shop. Rows of collectables sit side by side on shelves and vibrant colored custom apparel hang on clothes racks inside the space.
The Courthouse Plaza vibes are different nowadays in downtown Stockton. You can feel it when you swing the double doors open with an aroma of coffee and food lingering in the air. The bleeps and bloops of arcade noises emanate from the lower level. Yes, an actual arcade space is active on the lower level of the Courthouse Plaza with a painted mural on the wall. Random canvas art fills the lobby next to old photographs of downtown. There is a lot of history along these walls.
Businesses are open to sell their wares and services with decals spread across display windows. The hallway pinboard is filled with flyers promoting the latest events throughout the downtown area. A line of people wait to grab coffee to go and others, like myself, just happen to stumble into a unique interior mall structure in the heart of downtown Stockton.
Meet Michael Allen, Owner of Dealerz Choice.
From the outside, you would think walking through the doors lead to one main floor as you enter the building. The plaza is actually a 3 tiered building with lower and upper levels for office and work space. Michael Allen, owner of Dealerz Choice, hangs up new tie dye shirts and hoodies on the clothes rack. “How’s it going?” says Allen. We sat down to talk about the name and concept of Dealerz Choice.
The shop is not just selling collectables. The idea is to provide a platform to makers and artisans who have no storefront and give them a space to showcase their products.
Allen has been an entrepreneur all his life. When he started thinking about a business, he teamed up with local maker/artist, Alexander Garza, to develop an idea for a storefront that encapsulated all of their interests. With Garza creating art, they thought a co-op space for makers would be an ideal choice in downtown Stockton. “We needed a tangible space to show off what we can do — I wanted a space to show what he (Alex) can do. We had something to work toward and build on rather than do everything at home,” says Allen.
What is Dealerz Choice? Watch the video here!
With new ownership at The Courthouse Plaza in downtown Stockton, Allen inquired about a new space opening on the main floor. “The Courthouse Plaza is a really great space — a cool atmosphere being renovated with major changes coming up for the building,” says Allen. Eventually, Dealerz Choice appeared like a rolling cloud, similar to the decor hanging from the ceiling.
Allen shared his vision for the business and along with Garza, they create a positive atmosphere in the downtown scene and within the Courthouse Plaza. “There is a lot of foot traffic happening downtown and we want to help add to that with what we do here in our space,” says Garza.
The business provides a fresh perspective with the pop-up shop trend. However, the pop-up shop is here to stay. Makers and artisans constantly seek new avenues to locate spaces to sell wares and build brand awareness. A temporary pop-up for a maker can be a great stepping stone to owning a brick and mortar. Now that all the cards are in place, Dealerz Choice can offer the space to makers. “We want to be the place for local artists and vendors,” says Allen. “Vendors pay a monthly fee to utilize the space and we help promote their brand.” The businesses downtown, specifically with retail shopping, continue to see consistent growth in the surrounding area of the Courthouse Plaza. Ideally, Allen is looking to collaborate with as many individuals who are interested in being a part of the revitalization in downtown.
Customers may inquire about the cloud decor in the shop (they make custom clouds to order), but the logo is actually an onomatopoeia.
It is a jumble of all the things we are into. A little bit of everything.
It is eye-catching.Michael Allen
Why downtown Stockton?
The Courthouse Plaza was a great opportunity to create a space here for vendors. We have amazing potential for future events in downtown.
How can the community support you?
Reach out to us on social media and stop by the shop. Stay in contact and share our upcoming events and vendor pop-ups.
How did you come up with the name of the business?
Dealerz Choice was kind of a joke at first, but we ran with it. The z is a trendy, retro thing. We were into shapes and the organization of letters.
There is a lot of foot traffic happening downtown and we want to help add to that with what we do here in our space.Alexander Garza
Did you know you could pop-up at Dealerz Choice?
“I want to continue providing a phsyical space for vendors and makers,” Allen says. While Dealerz Choice has only been open a few months, the shop hosted a large vendor pop-up on Stocktoncon weekend, collaborate with artists for a launch party, and continue the momentum by promoting future events at Courthouse Plaza.
Address: 306 E. Main St. STE 208
Hours: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Monday – Friday