The Local Vyntage storefront in Jamaica Plain is something of a time machine.
The flagship brick-and-mortar shop, which recently opened its doors after several years of e-commerce-only business, sells apparel advertising the New England culture of yore. T-shirts across the store display the retro logos of the Caldor and Bradlees department store chains, Benson’s Wild Animal Farm off Route 111, and the Westboro Speedway. There’s even a nod to the nightmarish Big Dig project, complete with a design of a bulldozer.
Founder Chet Winnicki, a native of Berlin, Connecticut, founded Local Vyntage in 2016 while living in Tallahassee. But when he and his wife moved back to Massachusetts last summer, he also relocated the fulfillment center for Local Vyntage.
The adjacent storefront followed over a year later, opening its doors on Oct. 23. It took over the space formerly occupied by Sorella’s, a breakfast and lunch spot that had been in the neighborhood for more than three decades (yes, there is a T-shirt for them, too).
“These T-shirt designs take people back to a more simple time, a warmer time, that nostalgic feeling,” said Winnicki in a phone interview. “I wanted to lean into it and create a whole shopping experience.”
Tucked in one corner of the shop is a setup straight out of the ‘90s — a tube TV hooked up to a Super Nintendo video game console (with Mario Kart at the ready) with a geometric-patterned couch and wallpaper. “I wanted it to be way more than just a place to come by and pick up some tees,” Winnicki said.
Even though the focus is on New England themed threads, the flagship store hawks nostalgic clothing inspired by other cities, like Pittsburgh, Houston, and Atlanta. Since the fulfillment center is next to the shop, customers can buy products they may have seen on localvyntage.com from any of the company’s 16 locales.
Winnicki said the shop regularly adds new designs to the New England collection, but that doesn’t stop customers from piping in about other brands that should be screen-printed into posterity. “It never ends,” he said.
Getting to see customers reminiscing over shared memories has been a boon of opening the brick-and-mortar location, Winnicki said.
“If it’s just people coming in on their own, telling us stories, telling my staff stories about what they remember — it’s all awesome,” he said. localvyntage.com
Dana Gerber can be reached at email@example.com