Editor’s Note: Grease Monkeys is now an online shop only and their merchandise is also available at select Mon Cherie Presents and other events.
Rejoice, Atlanta Rockabilly guys and dolls! East Atlanta has something new and fab just for you. Grease Monkeys caters to your every need (even your BIKE)! That’s right, you’ll find all kinds a kool accessories for yourself or the kat or kitten in your life. I am particularly drawn to the men’s clothing. It seems to me that you can find something marked “Pin Up” almost anywhere these days, but the really great stylish items for men just haven’t been there. If you’re thinking about heading to Viva Las Vegas and you need some new threads do not, I repeat DO NOT buy online. You now have the ability to look good and support a local business. Now THAT is kool, so I just had to get the full scoop from Joe Grondalski, managing partner.
ATLRetro: Tell me a little about yourself.
Joe: I moved back to Atlanta in 2007 from Park City, Utah. I lived in Marietta when I was in high school, then on to Rochester, New York, to attend college. While in Rochester, I started my first business, a recording studio specializing in corporate sound tracking. After selling the recording studio, I moved to Park City, Utah to spend my days snowboarding. I was an aspiring snowboard racer until an unfortunate accident on the mountain ended my racing career. After my racing days, I opened The Phat Tire Saloon on Main Street Park City. We were open almost four years including the 2002 Winter Olympics. I closed the Phat Tire Saloon in 2004 after the building was sold to a corporate entity with other purposes for the space.
After closing my Saloon I began to seriously study the Chinese martial arts, specializing in Tai Chi and Snake Kung Fu at Shaolin Arts in Salt Lake City. While in college I had studied Tai Chi privately with a Master inNew York. Once I arrived inAtlanta, I immediately resumed my training, besides being the managing partner at Grease Monkeys I am a certified Tai Chi, Bagua and Xing Yi at Highland Martial Arts inVirginia-Highland. While growing up in Washington,DC, I was immersed in the DC Hardcore scene at a young age. I have been a part of the “Alternative” scene for over 25 years with a love of the Retro style from the beginning. I have been heavily influenced by my grandfather and his style, down to the same haircut he had in 1949.
There are many factors that led me to open Grease Monkeys, I could write a book about the events that led me to this point. I will try my best to keep this from rambling on. Atlanta has a large Kustom Culture and Rockabilly scene with a ton of events throughout the spring, summer and fall. There was one thing Atlanta was missing, a retailer that specifically caters to the Rockabilly and Kustom Culture scene. I had been frustrated that I could only get the clothes that I wanted online or from a few retailers that have limited stock at a higher price than the internet retailers, without being able to try them on or see the quality in person. I also wanted to keep my prices on par with the internet stores without the shipping costs. This was one of the factors that led me to open Grease Monkeys.
While the internet is a great resource it does not allow the customer to see, feel, try on or have the social experience that a brick and mortar store does. We are also stocking a wide variety of things that no one internet site has. From pinstriping brushes and paint to womens dresses we have it. Want a custom vintage motorcycle helmet? We have that too. Men’s clothing, women’s clothing, flowers for your hair, pinstriping paint and brushes, custom motorcycle parts and accessories, glitter flake purses and crazy socks; we have it all.
After spending more time than I would like to shopping in malls, I noticed that there were not very many stores that stocked all sizes. I wanted Grease Monkeys to be able to offer all of the sizes that the manufacturers offer, from XS to XXXXL, without marking up the larger sizes. It seemed to me that there was a practice in the clothing retail and manufacturing community of tacking on an extra $2-$5 for larger sizes when it only costs the manufacturers pennies to make a larger size. I wanted Grease Monkeys to break that trend; we charge the same ammount for a XS as we do for a XXXXL. As for our non-clothing items, there were few places that stocked the items that I was always looking for. I wanted to be able to offer pinstriping supplies without the insane art supply store markup of several dollars above MSRP. There was no retailer in the Atlanta area that was stocking restored vintage motorcycle helmets and no one stocking true custom motorcycle parts, the parts we stock are still made by hand and in most cases made in the USA.
Grease Monkeys has great retro/rockabilly clothing for women and men. What would you say are the “must have” items?
For the women’s dresses it would have to be the Captain Pencil Dress by Bettie Page Brand.
Women’s skirt: The Ruffle Sarina Skirt by Rock Steady
Women’s top: The Zombie Sparrow Button-up by Sourpuss
Women’s capris: The Hilda Capri in Leopard by Colletif UK
Men’s work shirt: Grease Gas and Glory by Lucky 13
Men’s button-up: V8 Button Up Racer by Steady Last Call
Men’s pants: Speedfreak Pants by King Kerosin
Any events coming up?
We’re making a huge push to attend as many car and bike-related events as possible in the area, as well as attend shows and events that appeal to the Rockabilly, Hot Rod and Vintage Motorcycle crowd. We keep our website calendar updated with the events we’ll be attending. Some of the upcoming events include:
April 20-22 – CafeRacer Village at Big Kahuna Atlanta, Braselton,GA
May 5 – EAVMA presents Cinco De Mayo Cruise in & Bar-B-Q in East Atlanta Village
Grease Monkeys is located at 1287-C Glenwood Avenue. Hours are Mon.-Sat. from noon to 9 p.m. and Sun. from noon to 6 p.m. 404-624-1587.
ATLRetro Contributing Editor Jennifer Belgard is Co-Conspirator at Libertine, Curator of Curios at Diamond*Star*Halo, Barkeep at Euclid Avenue Yacht Club, and Co-Coordinator of Chaos for the Little 5 Points Halloween Parade & Festival. In her spare time she enjoys Turnin’ TriXXX and playing Queen of Your Distraction.