NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Sunday December 10th 2017

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Get to know Corner Store Vintage

Shoppers are inclined to classify the selection at Corner Store Vintage as “Rockabilly” or “Western,” and upon stepping over the threshold at 900 West Lake it’s obvious why. There are cowboy boots, bowling shirts, oversize belt buckles, daintily printed scarves, and leather goods as far as the eye can see—not to mention the soundtrack.

Owner Linda McHale understands the “Rockabilly” categorization. “It’s probably because we do all this leather and boots,” she says, gesturing toward the floor-to-ceiling display in one corner. “But it’s really a big mix—the boots, the jackets, men’s and women’s vintage, antiques jewelry…”

A look around reveals just that—while there is a country-meets-rock-‘n’-roll theme tying the store together, there’s something for everyone in this shop. There was a time, however, when the goods were less varied.

A Little History

When Linda and her husband, Patrick, opened the Corner Store in 1973, it was next door to the Electric Fetus and sold exclusively furniture. By the time they moved to Lake Street in 1979, they had made the transition to carrying primarily clothing. The store still displays a bunch of quirky old lamps (one of Linda’s favorites is a lamp with a base that is a rather warped bust of Elvis), but unfortunately they’re not for sale.

While they built on the legacy of great vintage clothes and occasional odds and ends, Lyn-Lake evolved around them. “We’ve seen a lot of changes on Lake Street,” notes Linda. “When we were first here it was all car lots.”

What You Will Find

The Corner Store specializes in clothing and accessories from the 1930s–1970s. A few items from the ’80s and ’90s sneak in, but only if they’re particularly delightful and bizarre. There are pieces for people looking to finish costumes, shoppers wanting to add a little vintage to their wardrobes, and diehards that live and breathe vintage.

The Corner Store carries all sizes, which is slightly limited by the size range of the time periods. Women’s clothes in vintage run from 0–14, and generally “Big & Tall” men can’t buy vintage. If the Corner Store doesn’t carry clothing in your size, they definitely make up for it with their collection of accessories.

Most valuable items: In general, the vintage motorcycle jackets have higher value than anything else that Linda buys and sells.

What you won’t find: Vintage platform shoes. Platform shoes were glued together and generally cheap—it’s unlikely that you’ll find them anywhere- in one piece, anyway.
What sells most: Among the top sellers, shoppers leave with a lot of cowboy boots (Linda adds, “People come in here and go, ‘are these new boots?’ because sometimes they can’t tell”) and jewelry.
A denim specialty: “We sell Levi’s—new or used, but focus on vintage,” Linda says. “Lots of guys really like to come here to buy Levi’s because they can come in, be here five minutes, find a pair of jeans, and be gone.”
Linda’s favorites: Good news: she adores just about every piece in the store. When pressured to pick a favorite, she pointed out the ’50s cowboy shirts and patterned sweaters above the corner display of boots and leather jackets.

If you’re in the market for vintage goodies but the Corner Store doesn’t have what you need, Linda is happy to point you to the shop that might have what you’re looking for. “All of us that have vintage stores know each other really well, and we all send people back and forth all the time,” Linda explains. “We all sell vintage, but we all have a different niche.”

Picky, Picky

Linda has a reputation for carrying only the finest goods in the best condition. She says, “I’m super picky. I veto so much stuff that comes through the door that ends up in other stores. That’s how I’ve always been.”

Her philosophy is if a customer is going to spend time and money searching for a perfect piece (or two, or ten), there’s no reason to walk out the door carrying something with a stain. “I clean, wash, and iron everything that comes in. Everything else goes to the dry cleaner’s. People really like the fact that they can actually put something on and wear it that night.”

Famous Friends

A lot of musicians that come through Minneapolis shop vintage, a trend Linda has seen in her store across genres and generations. In fact, they have built a relationship with some return customers.

A couple of years ago when he was coming to town to play at the Target Center, Eric Clapton called Corner Store Vintage—from Japan. “He had heard about the shop when he was in Japan and wanted to visit. He came here and hung out for a whole afternoon and bought a ton of stuff,” Linda recalls. “It was a busy Saturday—there were a lot of people in here, and everybody kind of knew who he was, but no one approached him.”

Better yet, he still gives the Corner Store his business. “We still deal with him,” Linda says. “We send him packages all the time; it’s very cool.”

Talk about a great endorsement.

Go Shopping

Corner Store Vintage is open and ready for you to buy or sell vintage seven days a week.

Monday–Friday 11:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m.
Saturday 11:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
Sunday 12:00–5:00 p.m.

Corner Store Vintage
900 West Lake Street
612-823-1270

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