We’ve heard the questions and exclamations, some of us here at DECI might have even uttered them at some point: How are the 90’s and 2000’s considered vintage?! Well darlings, we’re here to tell you that they are indeed vintage.
If you grew up appreciating the stark differences between Steve Urkel and Stefan Urquelle… first and foremost, it’s beyond time to get those moles checked and invest in some SPF 50. Secondly, you’re going to find some stuff that hits you right in the nostalgias at Eau Claire Vintage.
But Eau Claire Vintage’s broad appeal among 15-25 year olds, their target demographic, doesn’t feel like it’s necessarily based in the nostalgic. In fact, store feels decidedly fresh and delightfully absent of the hipster ambition to style outfits ‘ironically’.
Some of that fresh appeal is in the care that owner and recent UWEC grad, Mike Shoultz, gives to the clothes he curates for resale. He works with wholesalers to hand-select merchandise, then sets to prepping it for the store. Washing, oxy soaks, seam fixes, even some custom bleaching designs are involved if stains are too stubborn to remove.
The store also has its own distinct perspective. Streetwear, athletic wear, sneakers, and casual clothes are front and center. There’s plenty of regional vintage clothing in the mix; everything from local college and sports merch to classic UW-Badgers, Packers, Twins, and more.
The business started on Instagram during the COVID pandemic when Mike was studying business marketing communications & entrepreneurship.
“There wasn’t much to do, everything was virtual,” says Mike, “Some friends were selling vintage clothing and that’s how I got started. I found an audience and everything just took off from there. “
With an audience of more than 8,000 Instagram followers, their weekly drops sell out very quickly. Their occasional pop ups grew to be wildly popular and it became clear the business was ready for a next step into a permanent storefront location.
“We outgrew our scarcity model of weekly Instagram drops and pop ups. The last event we did, there was a 2-hour wait just for people to get in the door,” he says. “We were becoming so popular that it was difficult to even find space big enough to host and the customer experience was becoming less fun.”
After some searching and plenty of hard work, Eau Claire Vintage opened its doors on July 8th in the new Andante Building in Downtown Eau Claire at 100 N. Farwell St, #118.
The neighborhood was always on Mike’s radar for a store location.
“This part of Eau Claire has such great energy,” says Mike. So many new businesses are opening, especially along North Barstow, and I wanted to be a part of that.”
Since opening, business has been brisk, as customers embrace the opportunity to shop Eau Claire Vintage on a more regular basis. Business hours currently are Thursday - Sunday, 11 am – 6 pm. Follow @ec.vintage on Instagram for weekly drops and to stay up to date on the latest.
Whether you're a millennial on the search for merch that to unlock some core memories or you're looking for something entirely brand new to you, Eau Claire Vintage is well worth the visit.
Eau Claire Vintage
100 N Farwell St, #118