Cory Fisher

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October 1, 2012
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The Schlocker Experience: Come to shop, stay to chat

Included on the of list treasures at Fabulous Finds on Colfax Avenue should be the shopkeeper herself, say regular customers.

“This is a place where I can really be me — some people end up staying for hours once they get a taste of ‘The Schlocker Experience,’” said owner Sheryl Schlocker, jokingly comparing herself to “The Jimi Hendrix Experience.”

She’s not kidding.

“You just feel good when you come in and you leave with high energy,” said customer Beverlyn Tucker, who stayed to chat for a half-hour despite having been in the day before. “Sheryl shares the love — she wants to give goodness to people.”

Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Schlocker was the older “Bohemian, free-spirited” sibling, while her younger sister, Andrea Bennahmias — who co-owns Fabulous Finds with Schlocker — was more business-oriented.

While Bennahmias spent many years building a successful “phone fantasy” business, Schlocker was a couch-surfing, Haight-Ashbury astrologer.

“I am and always will be your Jewish fairy god astrologer,” she said. “I’ve got a degree in psychology. Somebody once said I have a mind like a library that blew up. I thought it was very descriptive.”

One of Schlocker’s many jobs over the years also included cleaning hot tubs for San Francisco’s elite, such as famed author Armistead Maupin, who penned the series, “Tales of the City.”

But that now feels like a lifetime ago, she said.

Now that the sisters have hit middle age, their family bond seems to have overshadowed their vastly different personalities.

“My sister was very successful financially and she loved to buy high quality things,” she said. “Most of our store inventory is what she accumulated over the years. This store is mostly a place to distribute Andrea’s beautiful things — this is not a consignment store.”

When Fabulous Finds first opened its doors in July, for the first time in more than 30 years Schlocker left San Francisco, and moved to a small foothills town called Grass Valley.

So far, she hasn’t looked back.

“Now it’s time to settle — people have been very kind and welcoming here,” she said, while carefully rolling her next cigarette. “These are interesting times, and I’m slowly creating my soul family here.”

While Bennahmias is a co-owner, she currently lives in Roseville and does not work in the shop with her sister.

“Andrea’s always been good at shopping and I’m good at talking,” said Schlocker, who boasts four gray braids and an easy smile. “We don’t mind tourists at our store, but we are here for the locals. We do take trades.”

The store’s inventory runs the gamut. The house-converted-into-store has four rooms filled with everything from clothes, shoes and children’s items to books, linens, jewelry, iPhone covers, bar stools, guitars, nail polish, dishes, art, a ventriloquist dummy and Playboy panties.

“I love this place — I’ll be back,” said customer Mary Haines who was in search of a hat for church but ending up buying children’s tea cups from England. “I’ve been eyeing the birdhouses and the little rocking horse. The store is neat, clean, organized and has a nice variety.”

Schlocker hopes passersby will take a minute out of their day to stop in the store with a little red sign and pampas grass growing out in front.

“This place has a little something for everybody,” said Schlocker. “Come in and browse, or if you want to chat, we can talk about how Pluto’s in Capricorn and we’re reconstructing the world for all the species’ survival.”

To contact staff writer Cory Fisher email or call (530) 477-4203.

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The Union Updated Nov 16, 2012 12:02PM Published Oct 29, 2012 10:45AM Copyright 2012 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.