Photo by Jack Hunt
By Alyse Horn
Johnny Angel is bringing ginchy back.
Jack Hunt, also known by his stage name Johnny Angel, is opening a retro memorabilia store called Ginchy Stuff on 3623 California Ave. The grand opening will be on Friday, August 8 from 12 to 7 p.m.
Mike Vale, an original member of Tommy James and the Shondells, will be at the opening signing autographs around 4 p.m. Hunt said Vale wrote the hit song “Crystal Blue Persuasion” and was co-writer and bass player for most of Tommy James and the Shondells hits.
As for the name of the store, the word “ginchy” derives from the 1950s slang term for “cool.”
With the collectables that can be found in Hunt’s store, the name seems fitting.
Hunt’s first record came out on Steel Town Sound Records with The Cordells when he was 15-years-old, and he began collecting rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia from the 1950s, 60s and 70s while on tour.
“People thought I was crazy because I wouldn’t open the packaging,” Hunt said.
After 60 years of collecting, Hunt had filled two storage units, two attics, a spare room and the back room of a friend’s grocery store with memorabilia. He said he never thought he would get rid of any of the mementos, but as Hunt got older he decided to share his passion with other collectors who appreciated the vintage items.
To take on running the store, Hunt is stepping down from his daily management at PNC Atria’s. Hunt is part owner of eight Atria’s, four Ditka’s, and two Juniper Grill restaurants.
“Being at Atria’s and Ditka’s 60 hours a week takes a toll, but I will still be performing with the band and spending more time [at Ginchy Stuff].”
Hunt still regularly performs with Johnny Angel’s All Star Jam Band, Joe Lagnese Big Band, Mojo Jojo, and of course, Johnny Angel and the Halos.
Regular store hours will be every day from noon to 5 p.m. and by appointment where Hunt will give a tour of the store and allow customers to spend time perusing through the keepsakes.