Cathy Lombardo has seen Mid Century television consoles converted by new owners into minibars. Such rootless ingenuity is an extract of Vintage Hendo, a themed vendor market that grows every season — but hasn’t yet confined itself to a permanent venue.
The trendy “pop-up” concept “allows the opportunity to have different vendors at each location,” explains Lombardo, the market’s founder. In classic WNC style, “people really like the idea of having outdoor live music and food trucks [as added attractions],” she notes.
Lombardo chooses food trucks known for using locally sourced ingredients — a trend also apparent in her own genre. Besides a current focus on vintage clothing and accessories, “anything that’s handmade — especially if it’s local — is of great interest,” she says. Her new partner in the business, Pam Carver, makes bath-and-beauty products under the name Spatial Ingredient.
Many shoppers are on the lookout for painted, upcycled, and/or restored furniture. Often, coveted items are small and portable, pieces that “can move from a dorm to a first apartment to a first home,” says Lombardo. Potential for multi-functional use (as in the console-turned-minibar) is a fashionable plus.
But Naples Iron and Salvage is an intriguing repeat vendor who works on a larger scale. Owner Dave Pearce “makes tables out of industrial machine parts and car parts,” Lombardo explains. “He’s been at Vintage Hendo every year since we started.”
“Antiquing” is no longer the best term for this kind of shopping. Sticklers know that a “real” antique must be 100 years or older, while “vintage” can encompass anything starting from around 20-25 years ago. Fashions from the late ’80s and early ’90s — think of the clothing worn by the cast of Seinfeld and L.A. Law — are in great demand among young-adult shoppers born during this period.
Lombardo got her start as a crafter, making clothes from a variety of materials. “I used to buy a lot of stuff at Michael’s,” she says. These days, she seeks out vintage embellishments: older buttons, chicly rustic swaths of fabrics — but her repurposed creations aren’t usually sought by buyers from these earlier eras.
Instead, it’s the younger generations (Gen-X, Gen-Y, millennials) who have “definitely changed my path of creativity,” she admits. “They like it when you take old stuff and turn it into something new.” Lombardo names social-media coordinator Brooke Burleson as an important part of the Vintage Hendo Crew. She also mentions her son and daughter, age 23 and 28.
“Anthony has an artistic eye, and Melana helps me shop for vintage clothing. They help me behind the scenes.”
Vintage Hendo will hold three pop-up markets, all Saturdays, in 2017: April 8 and October 7 at Southern Appalachian Brewery (822 Locust St.) and May 6 in the field behind The Garage on 25 (3461 Hendersonville Road, Fletcher). Hours for all three markets are 11am-6pm. For more information and rain dates, see Vintage Hendo’s Facebook page or call 828-329-3118.