The shopping experience is as unique and as diversified as the shoppers themselves. For most, however, it is a sort of controlled chaos, only satisfied by the occasional “find.” But what if there was more “control,” but a lot less “chaos” and (oh, yeah!) those treasured “finds” jumping out to find you, almost calling your name. Well, that would be like living a vintage life in an uptown style.
“Downtown is really common and denotes a central business location for commerce,” said Peggy Stansbury, proprietor. “But uptown is the place where the people meet. Anytime someone thinks of high quality taken from a period of time, it’s marked by its vintage. Hence, our name, Uptown Vintage, which means to bring quality within the people’s reach.”
As one of the newer entries into the antique business, Uptown Vintage is vibrant with treasures from the past. Each section is broken down into little bites of Americana. Uptown Vintage is impeccably neat, ordered, and organized. Eye-catching merchandise seems to scream, “get me, get me please,” in that still, small voice that yearns for the treasure of the hunt.
Strategically located in the heart of historic Huntsville, every effort is made and tended to in fine detail. Each display can easily rival any of the nation’s upscale and pricey department stores.
As with any business, the key element is to locate a niche that fills a need. “People love to go searching for treasure,” Stansbury said. “Every day the doors open, our patrons have the thrill of the hunt in their eyes.” Realizing that “hunters” need an outlet, Uptown Vintage provides the space and professionalism, along with the oh-so important trendy quality coveted by vendors and “treasure hunters” alike.
Some of the uniqueness found at Uptown Vintage includes its collection of “collectibles” like some of the original Star Wars action figures, as well as classic collectible lunchboxes. There is even an original first edition of the classic Gone with the Wind hardback cover still in great condition. And for those who are hardcore collectors, get ready to rumble over the turntable all-wood Hi-Fi stereo system, complete with needles for the records. If vinyl is your thing, check out the assortment of albums. Some of them are great just for the album covers themselves.
“I think having some of the things found in this store brings back a little bit of a simpler time,” said one shopper. “You really get to appreciate the craftsmanship, because so much of it has stood the test of time.” Indeed. Remember the indestructible Tonka truck? Prized by kids of an earlier generation, looks as good as new. These will be passed down to a new generation that still can’t bust ‘em. Have a love of music? Former high school musicians can relive the past with a collection of instruments. Play with the flair of Percy Heep on the slide trombone. Big band swing on the clarinet. Jazz anyone? They even have saxophones. Diatonic harmonica? Well, keep checking for that one, but give it some time.
Perhaps the best way to describe Uptown Vintage is by way of a feeling—the sensation one experiences when something enjoyed is made by those who enjoy the same thing.
“I remember going out to resale stores or estate sales. As you know, a person can accumulate a lot of stuff that way,” Stansbury said. “So I decided to rent a booth and became a vendor at the Bluebonnet.” As fate would have it, she was able to secure her Huntsville location, and it quickly became a trendy spot for shoppers and vendors as well.
The vendors provide a local feel and intimate touch with the surrounding culture, displaying what they like in the manner that was attractive to them. The formula has worked, providing a sense and comfort comparable to almost shopping at home.
The market has been very supportive. All indications point to a very bright future in the past, so to speak. What is it about the quality of past craftsmanship? Many are seeking to find the answer to that and many more with the multitude of “finds” at Uptown Vintage.
In keeping with the theme of the store, you will not find a cash register here unless it’s for sale. Stansbury, who retired after more than 30 years in accounting with several major oil companies, seems to figure numbers accurately without the aid of pencil or paper. But to put her customers at ease, she uses a calculator. Over the cashier’s desk hangs a beautiful handcrafted sign that politely instructs patrons where to pay. “It’s funny when some of our younger customers look a little out of sorts when they are ready to check out,” Stansbury said, recalling the first few days the store opened. “I was able to make this (sign), and it just fit so well with the décor.”
“When we first got this location, my biggest fear was we would never fill this building. But, we filled up so quickly we had to expand. Now that it has filled, we are expanding to include more space. We’ve taken down doors, and we’ve taken down some walls to expand it into one entire building that you see right now. This gives it a more cohesive effect, and it looks great.” People love this and shopping is a breeze.
Uptown Vintage does a lot more than just open its doors. They make an effort to keep their displays modern, yet characterized, exhibiting nostalgia. “This is something we try to do on a regular basis,” Stansbury said. “We are always changing things out or cleaning things up, sometimes even restocking.” Throughout the store, it takes a moment to put your finger on it, but every detail is intentional—even the ease of walking in a store that seems to flow with wherever your interests will lead. That’s Uptown Vintage style.
1215 Sam Houston Ave
Huntsville, TX 77340-4637
The Business Focus is chosen each month by random drawing from among Postcards contract advertisers. To learn more call 936-293-1188.