WHAT WE LOVE: A treasure trove of antique men’s clothing and accessories from the 1900s to 1970s. We love that Hazel, faithful companion and shop dog, stands guard in the Stock Vintage window greeting customers and admirers alike.
WHERE: A distinctive East Village, NYC building, dating to 1865, that adds character and authenticity to the Stock Vintage goods.
WHO: Retail veteran and vintage afficiando, Melissa Howard.
When was Stock Vintage founded? Stock Vintage was established June 2006.
Why did you choose the name “Stock Vintage”? I named the shop Stock Vintage because before opening the store, I was helping ‘stock’ vintage clothing and accessories to other stores.
What makes Stock Vintage so unique? We are known for selling men’s clothing from the early 1900’s – 1970’s. Antique men’s clothing has always been a challenge to find. Many of my customers look for hard to find, rare vintage pieces to add to their collection.
What inspired you to open Stock Vintage? I wasn’t looking to open a store. I grew up in retail and knew that it was a lot of work! But I became eager to curate a space that reflected everything I love, and share that.
When I moved to New York in the late 90’s, I started visiting my friends that occupied my now space. They had a wonderful antique shop called Dullsville. I eventually starting helping them at the shop on occasion. When they decided to end their 22 year chapter the store became available and it was offered to me. After thinking long and hard I made the decision to open Stock Vintage.
What did you do before opening Stock Vintage? Before I opened my store I was selling clothing and antique furniture at the 26th street flea market. I was also selling to stores that would resell what they purchased from me.
Who inspires you? My Mom opened a retail store in Michigan when I was young. She sold antiques, new women’s clothing, accessories etc. She had her store for 38 years. My moms store was always innovative. I was lucky to learn from her. Last summer, in June, she sadly had to make the tough decision to close her store. When she made the announcement that she was closing there was a line wrapped around the block for hours. Even though it was during the height of Covid her customers showed up. They wanted to get one last piece from their favorite store. They shared stories about their experiences shopping at the store over the years and shed some tears. Retail brings people together.
What’s your favorite thing about owning an independent shop? My favorite part of owning a shop is that I get to meet like minded people from all over the world. Also, that I can bring my dog Hazel to work everyday!
What are your favorite Instagram accounts that you’re currently following? the_shopkeepers (thank you!), dullsville_pa, killingsistergeorge, wmbrownproject, mcrowcompany paularubinstein, chuckauerbachantiques
How has the pandemic changed your opinion on the future of retail? Having a store in NYC during the pandemic has been a bit challenging. Although, I have had great long time customers that have been very loyal. They have wanted to be supportive, however they can, to keep my business and other small businesses afloat because they want us to survive.
What do think about the impact of social media on retail? The change that I have seen over the past year is that many small businesses have become reliant on social media. Instagram especially has been a real lifesaver for small businesses to generate income.
ON THE FUTURE OF RETAIL
“Retail has changed quite a bit over the past several years. Sadly, one doesn’t need a brick and mortar to survive. If you’re creative you can create your own presence on Instagram and reach the world. My hope is that commercial rents will come down a bit so that creative entrepreneurs have the opportunity to express themselves via a storefront and share their vision.”
143 East 13th Street