Stuff with Style vintage market returns to East Dundee June 10
After a banner outing last summer, the owners of Midwest Retro and SavvyCityFarmer are bringing back Stuff With Style, a Downtown Vintage Market. The market will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, June 10, in the East Dundee's Depot, 319 N. River St. Another will follow on Aug. 26.
"There's nothing like this in the area," said Joy Frey Waltmire, owner of SavvyCityFarmer. "The people last year went on and on about how much they enjoyed it."
There will be about 20 vendors at the market. Organizer Lael Miller, his wife Connie Miller and Waltmire are focusing on quality and diverse merchandise.
"It's a high-quality event," said Lael Miller, who is also East Dundee's village president. "You can't show up from your flea market with your pickup (truck). You have to display as if in a retail store."
The vendors, who are juried, were happy with the number of unexpected crowds that spent the day in East Dundee last year, according to Lael, as were the brick and mortar shop and restaurant owners.
"The vendors said they loved the event, loved the location and would come to it whenever we wanted," he said. "The customers were happy, and the nice side effect is that all the businesses downtown did very well that day."
A happy business district suits Lael fine.
"We weren't competing with food or beer," Lael said. "People came through and then went to have lunch or a drink. It was successful in many ways."
As far as success in the vintage market, Lael knows of which he speaks. Midwest Retro was conceived as a new lifestyle for him and his wife after making their living in information technology. The shop opened two years ago and the Millers are now doubling their space.
"Having no experience whatsoever and deciding it's what we wanted to do for a living, I'm very happy it's worked out," Lael said.
Connie finds that hard work associated with her own business is more satisfying than it can be for a corporation.
"I'm coming out of a 30-year IT career, so, relatively speaking, it's not hard work when you're doing it for yourself," Connie said. "I always worked for big companies. I worked hard for 30 years and it's refreshing to work really hard for us."
It is more than a full-time job, however, as many retailers have experienced.
"My wife goes to several trade shows for quality reproductions of vintage items for half of the merchandise," Lael said. "We go out looking for (vintage items) every day. People call if they are downsizing, and we go to a lot of auctions and some consistent flea markets. It's a constant search and we fill up about a truck a week."
Lael credits Waltmire for not only partnering to host the market but, to some degree, with the success of their business.
"We met in line at an estate sale, " Waltmire recalled, "They were just on the cusp of opening and we got to talking."
Waltmire, who formerly owned Stuff with Style in East Dundee, offered the Millers her expertise.
"I told her I was a retail stylist and Connie said, 'I need you! I bought all this Christmas stuff and I don't know what to do with it,'" Waltmire recalled. "I said, if you want to employ me, I can help you. I redo the store twice a month."
"We worked very closely with Joy Frey Waltmire," Lael said. "She had a shop similar to this years ago, and she does still sell out of her house and online with SavvyCityFarmer and she does some decorating. She's got a fantastic eye. So, she's helped us with displays and other things since we've opened up."
As a person who has done her share of hunting quality vintage items, Waltmire is enthusiastic about the Stuff With Style market, named for her old business.
"We just would like to expose the area," she said, adding, "It's free, and these kinds of fairs are (usually) never free."
Stuff With Style, a Downtown Vintage MarketWhen: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, June 10 and Aug. 26
Where: The Depot, 319 N. River St., East Dundee
Details: Call (847) 844-0848 or visit MidwestRetro.com/stuff-with-style-market.