In the middle of the 400 block of Main Street in Downtown Ventura, nestled between the Carlson Jewelers and Sew What Tailoring and Design Gown Boutique, lies Zander Alley. Its inhabitants include various retail entities, from garment and shoe shops to bead stores and art purveyors. In the back, across from the morbid curiosity, Ventura’s Little Shop of Horrors, is the Attic Trunk. Inside, for over 15 years, Jacqueline “Jackie” Wortman kept her shop full of all things vintage fashion.
“I’m very fussy about what I put in here. About 80 percent of what I buy is made in America, and from prior to 1970,” Wortman, aka Mama J, told the VCReporter in “Hats off to vintage,” Dec. 15, 2015.
In front of the Attic Trunk now are a series of tributes after her passing on Oct. 3. For those who ventured down the unusual shopping corridor, Wortman would always greet guests with a welcoming spirit as if strangers were family, her charm and warmth felt by many.
Friends of Wortman speak of their time knowing her.
“Jackie was the heart of Zander Ally. She took it upon herself to encourage and support shop owners who have come and gone through the years. She always cared for those close to her and believed in people’s dreams. She also was a very driven business woman and always said to never go down without a fight. I truly feel we lost an exceptional friend, mentor and, for me, a mother figure. I will always love and miss her.” — Jimmy V., Ventura’s Little Shop of Horrors.
“Little Jackie was larger than life and truly one of a kind. Her knowledge, experience, perseverance and bravery will remain unmatched. Mama J was a true friend to me and to those she believed in. She was always willing to share advice, was a generous leader and had a fantastic sense of humor. Her presence will be sorely missed but she will live on in our hearts, stories and memories.”
— Cindy F., BlackBird Trading Company
“Jackie was the fierce Zander Alley mother. She took in those she had grown to trust and love. She worked hard and she was full of knowledge that I will carry with me. Her kind heart and saucy humor will be missed. It was a pleasure and an honor to have known her.”
— Angie P., O’Brien’s assistant
“She was a small lady that left a big impression on everyone that she met. She will always be in our thoughts and greatly missed.”
— Jason S., Ventura local and friend
“A hardworking, dedicated business woman and a true friend. Jackie Wortman was beloved by all who entered her shop or shared an experience. She taught me more than how to live; she taught me how to live with a kind heart. Her Irish eyes will continue smiling on us for all eternity.”
— Liz C., longtime friend
A Celebration of Life memorial service for Jacqueline Wortman will be held on Saturday, Oct. 20, at 11 a.m. at the Joseph P. Reardon Funeral Home and Cremation Service, 757 E. Main St, Ventura. To learn more about Wortman, go to www.vcreporter.com/2015/12/hats-off-to-vintage/.