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Downtown Businesses

My Vintage Varia: Your New Stop on Main Street

Have you heard the news? There is a new store downtown, located on 120 West Main Street, where The Art Center used to be! As much as we miss Jane, Dave and the gallery, it’s wonderful that this beautiful  location on Main Street is not sitting empty! I went by My Vintage Varia last Friday to explore and share my finds with you 🙂

Meet Paula Harvey, owner of My Vintage Varia. Paula is excited about her new venture and she has created wonderful atmosphere in the shop.

Meet Paula Harvey, owner of My Vintage Varia. Paula is excited about her new venture downtown and she has created a wonderful atmosphere in the shop. Below is a short interview with her.

What made you decide to open “My Vintage Varia” in downtown Washington?

Opening My Vintage Varia has been a process. I have been a “picker” for many years and have had other antique booths in different locations. I just can’t seem to turn my back on a great find! I really got serious about it last year when my daughter and I began attending and exhibiting in pop-up type vintage shows around the midwest. These pop-up shows are a modern day rendition of what used to be called antique shows. Nowadays generation ages have changed. I don’t find many people looking for antique horse collars anymore. Instead, the mid century and shabby chic style is what sells.

You might have noticed the windows on 120 West Main look different. The vintage look and feel prepares you for the new store inside.

You might have noticed the windows on 120 West Main look different. The vintage look and feel prepares you for the new store inside.

I attend shows all over the midwest and am always looking for new venues.  Because of all of these shows I need to have and create lots of product! This takes space and time. Until now I have been making due working out of my home but it has just become too large. Recently my good friends Jane & Dave Arnold had some unfortunate things happen that forced them to close the loved Art Center on Main Street. While the space was empty I did my own pop-up show during the Fall Crafts festival downtown which was was well received. Afterward I planned to just pack up and leave, but the more I thought about it I decided to acquire the space for my new “Home” store. Traveling shows will always be the heart of my business but now I can have a home base. There is value in a brick and mortar location which makes it easier to brand your business. I have ample space for showroom display and the rear part of the store is a luxury offering lots of room for storage and work stations.

When you walk in, My Vintage Varia enchants you with a variety of items from past eras.

When you walk in, My Vintage Varia enchants you with a variety of items from past eras.

Including some women fashions, perfect for fun dress up parties.

Including some women fashions, perfect for fun dress up parties.

I really liked that furniture...

I really like the simplicity of that furniture…

What makes your store unique?

I have wanted a unique store that differed from standard antique or collectable shops. I have my product segregated into different vignettes based on style. There is an industrial, Mid century, Shabby Chic and other areas which make it a more attractive way to present the items. I have experience in store display and it is one of the many pleasures of having this this store. I want my store to always have a stylish feel that make customers want to come back. I want it to be a place where you just never know what you may see. Also due to my shows, my inventory changes constantly which makes it more fun for the customer without getting stale.

The different styles you can encounter at My Vintage Varia are in close proximity, yet separated from each other.

The different styles you can encounter at My Vintage Varia are in close proximity, yet separated from each other.

One of my favorite vignettes. Aren't these tables perfect?

One of my favorite vignettes. Aren’t these tables just perfect?

Let's play dress up!

Let’s play dress up!

Accessorize, Accessorize, Accessorize!

Accessorize, Accessorize, Accessorize!

So lady-like!

So lady-like!

Vanity Fair.

Vanity Fair.

Fashion Statement.

Fashion Statement.

That big hanger for quilts fascinated me... As we discovered in conversation, Paula and I share a love for miniatures or larger-than-life items.

That big hanger for quilts fascinated me… As we discovered in conversation, Paula and I share a love for either miniature or larger-than-life items.

What are some of the items that you have in the store?

We have glassware ranging from valued collector pieces to funky personal pieces with flowers or kitschy patterns printed on them. Our furniture collection is very diverse including many chairs, industrial stools, cabinets and tables including one covered with wine corks. Not your typical fare. We also have many project pieces. These are items acquired by us with plans for painting and restoring. If you get to them before we do they can be purchased as they are. Among the many pieces are a couple cabinets that will be made into personal bars, some rusty car doors and a few warehouse carts.

Glassware galore.

Glassware galore and other things.

This tea set I liked a lot...

This tea set I liked a lot…

The furniture in the back can lend itself to so many different uses with the help of some paint and creativity.

The furniture in the back can lend itself to so many different uses with the help of some paint and creativity.

Do you see anything you like?

Do you see anything you like?

More furniture items.

More interesting furniture finds.

Do you do custom projects and do you take items on consignment?

Sometimes you may see a piece and want it customized by us for you. Fortunately, I have a secret weapon in regards to my artist husband, Ray. He is capable of painting anything anyway. He specializes in decorative finishes and faux painting and as time goes on will have more and more art pieces in stock. We have worked with major designers on numerous projects and homes for years. This experience is one more thing that helps me separate my business.

Often we get asked if we take things on consignment. The simple answer is “not often.” But we do listen to what a customer might have and if it is indeed unique or rare enough we might take it in or just buy it outright. It has to be pretty special though.

My Vintage Varia has been open since December last year, and the new customers already have the shop as one of their favorite downtown stops.

My Vintage Varia is very new to Main Street, but the customers already have the shop as one of their favorite downtown stops.

What do you love the most about your downtown location?

I have owned my own restaurant business in downtown Washington before so this is not my first experience in the area. This time the attraction for me is the right building. It fits what I’m going to do. But in addition, for a “vintage business” customers expect this type of store to be in a quaint historical area. Can Washington be any more perfect? The entire area is the definition of vintage style. I think this will be a great fit!

Paula has definitely found the best location for her new store!

Paula has definitely found the best location for her new store!

What are your hours?

Right now we are open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 am to 4pm. Everyone can follow our latest adventures and offerings on Facebook at My Vintage Varia. We will be showing products, new ideas and show schedules. Our new website offers a great way to shop if a customer can’t come in. We try to add more and more product to the on-line store. It also can be accessed at www.myvintagevaria.com.

My Vintage Varia has a strong online presence, which is of essence nowadays to a brick and mortar location.

My Vintage Varia has a strong online presence, which is of essence nowadays to a brick and mortar location. Yet, I still prefer walking in the store and taking it all in 🙂

Anything else you’d like to add.

This year I am a sponsor for Vintage Market Days which will be held in Eureka, MO the first weekend in April. Right now all of our projects are gearing up for this. We are scheduled to be at the Gypsy Caravan, St.Louis’ largest flea market, which will be held at the Family Arena this year. I am also looking forward to a new show called JunkStock in Omaha, NE this summer. It is an all outdoor show with eleven musical groups. I love going to shows, but I also enjoy having my new ‘home’ location in downtown Washington. Everybody is welcome to come and visit us at the store or at one of the shows we will be participating in this year.

Vintage variety of different styles and times: put My Vintage Varia on your list as your next downtown stop!

Vintage variety of different styles and times: put My Vintage Varia on your map as your next downtown stop!

 

About Slava

I am a twenty-something Bulgarian girl in the USA, re-discovering the world through the lens.

Discussion

6 Responses to “My Vintage Varia: Your New Stop on Main Street”

  1. Paula,
    I am so excited to see your new store It is just beautiful. I am sorry I have not been there yet. Can’t wait to see you in person. And we look forward to working the St Louis Vintage Market Days in Eureka in early April!!
    Sandi McDonald

    Posted by sandimcdonald1 | March 5, 2014, 8:01 pm
  2. This place looks Terrific !

    Posted by Kevin Pickard | March 5, 2014, 8:13 pm
  3. Paula,
    We are so excited for your new venture! We’ll drive down there one of these days to see you!
    Blessings & Love,
    Cathy Duvall

    Posted by Cathy Duvall | March 5, 2014, 9:01 pm
  4. Good luck in your new business venture. So glad you have chosen the downtown area. Hope to see more businesses come to downtown.

    Posted by Isabella Reiss | March 7, 2014, 10:55 am
  5. I Have a 100 year old wedding dress

    Posted by Kathleen mcgowan | April 13, 2015, 9:44 am
  6. Not a fan of this place or the owner. I was told the price of an item in her store that she said was, “in horrible shape and needed lots of work.” I was pretty excited about the piece, even though it was in bad shape, so I told friends and family to go look at it and tell me what they thought. I went back with cash in hand to purchase the piece, but when I told her I wanted to buy it, for what she had quoted me, she wouldn’t sell it to me any more. She said it was worth more than that now. I also had a friend offer to buy it and have them do the work on fixing it up as a gift to me. My friend was told they had had a lot of interest in the piece (from my friends and family, no doubt) and they weren’t going to sell it now! It is just not good business to treat people like you are doing them a favor to sell them something! Let’s see how long this business lasts with that attitude. I’ll be glad to send friends and family down the street to The Painted Home from now on.

    Posted by MB | July 29, 2015, 1:54 pm

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