Charleston, South Carolina is known for it’s rich history and Southern Charm. After I visited with Wayne Welden, Owner of the historically rich vintage sports shop The VAULT, on King Street in the heart of downtown, I learned first hand about that Southern Charm and why the locals and tourists flock to the popular destination. Here’s a few questions with our newest Original Retro Brand Retailer of the Month.
Andy: What inspired you to get in the vintage sports apparel business?
Wayne: As a huge sports fan growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, naturally I was drawn to the great players and teams of the day – Bart Starr and the Green Bay Packers, and Harmon Killebrew of the Minnesota Twins were just a few of my favorites. I wanted to get into a business that reminded me, as well as my customers, of the good old days of sports. So far, it’s worked out well beyond my expectations.
Andy: Love to hear that, and congratulations! Seems like you probably enjoy coming to work every day more then most. What would you say is the most fun/rewarding part of your job?
Wayne: Hands down, it’s the responses I get from customers. The store just gets people in a good mood. The other day a customer asked me if I was the owner, and I said yes, why?, and the customer said he could just tell by how much I cared about what going on around me in the store. I was really tickled by that. I also love when people see a vintage graphic on a shirt they wouldn’t ever expect to see and comment on how cool, or meaningful it is to them. You guys have an ECU Pirates shirt from when? People really appreciate seeing stuff from their school or old favorite team. Coming in every day is just fun to do.
Andy: I think I can repeat – Love to hear that! I know you’ve only been in business a short year and a half, but do you have any plans to expand?
Wayne: Actually we do. We’ve been looking at some similar type locations in the downtown Greenville (S.C.) area that are very appealing high traffic spots. There is a strong following for the Greenville Drive (Minor league affiliate for the Boston Red Sox), and we believe those fans will naturally relate to our store. Did you know the Greenville stadium is pretty much an exact replica of Fenway Park with a manual scoreboard, Pesky’s Pole, and the Green Monster? Shoeless Joe Jackson grew up in Greenville too, so that is another reason we would fit nicely into the neighborhood.
Andy: Did not know about the mini-Fenway. I’ll have to drive up from Georgia and check it out. After that, can I come in and work weekends for you?! Ok, you don’t become Retailer of the Month without carrying our brand, and we’re honored and thankful that you do. What is it about Original Retro Brand that you like so much?
Wayne: Original Retro Brand is the main company that I feature in my store. They have an endless variety of vintage and current graphics to choose from which makes my job fun and easy. The sales team is always extremely helpful and easy to work with, and f I need product quickly, they get my “at once” orders turned around on a dime.
The fact that the product is MADE IN THE USA is another very positive selling point that our customers clearly appreciate. People don’t mind spending a little extra for the “USA” label. Lastly, the garments are simply high quality, and that is hard to find these days.
Andy: Thanks for taking the time out to answer my questions today (I’m sorry I had to pull you away from the fun you were having!). Once again, we appreciate your partnership and wish you continued success!
If you are visiting the Charleston area, please make sure to stop into the VAULT and ask for Wayne!
307 King Street, Charleston, SC 29401
Open Mon-Sat: 10am – 6pm, Sunday: 12pm – 6pm