For a long time, authentic vintage merchandise played second fiddle to antiques, says Sarah Hoffert. “Vintage was kind of like the little sibling. But there’s been such a surge with vintage. It’s starting to headline shows more often.”
To give vintage top billing, Hoffert and Michael McGinn, her partner at Down South Vintage, a furnishings and décor shop in Hendersonville, collaborated with artist Cathy McElroy Lombardo of Lady Beatrice Vintage Crafts and her daughter Melana Lombardo, purveyor of Cultured Grits (Melana sells hip vintage clothes, vinyl, children’s books, kitchen items, home décor, and suitcases). Together, the three small enterprises created Vintage Hendo. This popup market, which debuted in May, showcases vintage items, first and foremost.
“Our collective excitement for all things vintage really set the show in motion,” says Hoffert. “Vintage can be kind of quirky, and that fits in really well with the 7th Avenue’s small eclectic businesses. Main Street is amazing — [but] we wanted to honor this part of town, as well, and give it some vintage and handmade love.”
Cathy McElroy Lombardo makes crafts out of vintage materials (including lace, buttons, hankies, quilts, jingle bells, and wooden spools) and sells them under the “Lady Beatrice” moniker at Hendersonville shops Southern Chicks Market and Mia’s Marketplace. She defines vintage as “collectible items” — art, furniture, fashion, “whatnots,” home décor, etc. — “that are 20-plus years of age, characterized by enduring appeal and classic style.” Generally speaking, “antique” refers to an item that’s 100 years or older, she adds.
Lombardo says she appreciates how younger artists are expressing their passion and creativity while selling genuine handcrafted items still made in America.
“The younger generation today can’t connect with their grandma’s antiques,” concurs vendor Mark Smith, proprietor of VintageSmith. “The vintage market gives this younger generation a connection to the nostalgia of the past but in a hip, mod way.”
Smith specializes in recycled vintage industrial wares and functional items such as lighting made from recycled materials. He notices that vintage-seekers appreciate an item’s heritage, as well as its contemporary artistic and functional value. A spirit of “indie” creativity abounds.
“A cart used in a factory 50 years ago is now being used as a coffee table,” he explains by example. He also points out that vintage items are adaptable, and “as popular for use in country farmhouses as they are in urban lofts.”
Buying vintage is also a great way to boost the local economy in a small community like Hendersonville, according to Hoffert. “If we redirect just $100 a year from box-store chains to local businesses, the payoff is huge. Promoting vintage and handmade is about more than sales for us. It’s about investing in our community, reducing our environmental impact, and creating a new fun thing to do in Hendersonville.”
She adds an additional benefit that never goes out of style. “Oh, yeah — and enjoying good beer!”
Vintage Hendo happens Saturday, October 10, from 11am-6pm in the courtyard of Southern Appalachian Brewery (822 Locust St.). For more information, see “Vintage Hendo: A Vintage & Handmade Market” on Facebook, or visit downsouthvintage.com. 828-458-6308.