1714 Broadway St, Mt Vernon, IL 62864
Hours: Tues.- Fri. 10 a.m.- 5 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Closed Sun.- Mon.
In August of 2014, a beautiful 130-year-old Victorian house became home to what is now Renee’s Vintage. Owner Renee Kubicki saw the need for a unique vintage store in Mt. Vernon and took the leap. The leap proved successful. By 2016, the business had grown so much, that Renee needed a business partner to help manage and run the store. Laura Bayer joined her and the two solely run the business from top to bottom. Besides Renee and Laura, the only other employee is Kate Laird who assists with advertising and social media on a part time basis. Before owning a storefront, Renee was a vendor at other shops and events. Her business started by acquiring furniture from estate sales and flea markets and repainting the pieces to resell. Renee’s Vintage has now grown to also offer flea market finds, resale items, and new wholesale items.
Several repeat customers walk through the doors at Renee’s Vintage to ask for advice and gather opinions on decorating their home or what outfit to wear. To Renee, the most rewarding part of owning her own business is the customer connections she has made. “Even if we’re having a tough day when work is overwhelming, somebody will come in and brighten our day right up.” In contrast, the most difficult element of running a business is “wearing all of the hats”. Between finding all their own merchandise, rehabbing items, staging them in the store, looking for quality goods, running the storefront, and behind the scenes jobs, Renee and Laura are kept more than busy.
Although primarily a vintage store, the style of merchandise flows between farmhouse and funky bohemian. “We like to have fun with decorating and do things a little quirkier”, Renee comments. The design of one of their in-store vendors, Rusted Pearls is primarily a vintage farmhouse style. Renee’s Vintage sells two kinds of paint often used for redoing furniture. The painted furniture you find in the store, has been painted with the lines they sell. Another popular in-store item are the 1803 candles and melts. Locally made, these candles come in several scents, with special scents for fall now available. Renee’s Vintage has also started selling women’s boutique clothing and Myra bags. They describe their overall merchandise as a mix of old and new. Many are surprised by the variety of items they find inside the store. You will find vanities, chairs, plants, jewelry, kitchenware, pillows, home décor, and so much more.
When you enter the Victorian home, you’ll quickly realize it isn’t a one level, one room store. Every single room in the house is filled with merchandise, including three rooms upstairs. Each room winds into another as you find more and more items you simply can’t live without! Renee and Laura are constantly restaging to make sure every room is full. The rooms change with the seasons, as well. With so many rooms, you may wonder how they decide where to place everything. Renee states, “We try to stage things in a way that you can imagine them in your own home.” For example, they will take an old repainted window or door and show how it can be styled inside your house.
Almost any time of the year, you can catch special events and sales at Renee’s Vintage. Spring Open House, Christmas in July Sidewalk Sales, Fall and Christmas Open Houses are a few of the weekends you can catch special deals and promotions. This year will be the second time they are hosting the Winter Barn Market at local venue, A Pocketful of Sunshine. Last year’s event was such an overwhelming success, the property ran out of space and parking. An estimated 4,000 people shopped from 26 vendors offering local boutique items, bath and body products, candles, jewelry, clothing, house decor items, and other vintage market finds. This year, they are adding a second day to the event. Shop the first picks on Friday night, November 1st for $10 or come on Saturday for $2.
It is important to support your small businesses and stores. Renee believes, “Small business is the backbone of any community. You are supporting your friends and neighbors.” She also notes that, shopping local often leads to better customer service. Working at a Visitor’s Center, I know when travelers stop through, they are often looking for the local restaurants, unique attractions, and small shops. Renee agrees, “The small businesses, quaint shops, boutiques, coffee shops; when I’m shopping, I want to see those things. That is the draw.” They also note that half or more of their customers come from out of town. Visitors hear about Renee’s Vintage on Facebook, through word of mouth, and at other market events.
Looking to the future, Renee’s Vintage hopes to continue to bring quality vintage merchandise to the area. The next time you are driving down Broadway in Mt. Vernon, stop in Renee’s Vintage and see what unique finds you can buy!