Well Worn Vintage

Richmond’s vendors have a pretty good selection of marketplaces where they can peddle anything from produce to art. But when Johnny Hugel and Drew Spruill were seeking venues where they could display their vast collections of “rustic, masculine-inspired” vintage items, they decided to create their own.

Well Worn Vintage—a one-day, curated bazaar featuring vendors of curios, vintage items, and even some refreshments—was their answer to what they viewed as a mercantile void in Greater Richmond. “Certainly in the craft world, there’ve been a number of markets and events that allow local vendors to show off their goods, but as far as an alternative retail environment, there hasn’t really been one that was as free form as what we were picturing,” explains Hugel, whose SharpMan enterprise features an inventory of classic menswear he has amassed over time and space.

Spruill’s Yesterday’s Heroes collection covers a range of housewares and accessories from bygone eras. “My gamut runs between mid-century furniture and seating to old lighting; current classic, casual menswear; repurposed vintage goods; and accessories. They’re things for everyday use, whether it’s a maple trunk or a camper’s stove or a vintage sleeping bag, things that normal people could use in everyday life.” Driven by their common passion for antiques, the long-time friends had each accumulated mountains of items that they were unable to share with prospective buyers in an up-close-and-personal setting. Hawking yesteryear’s unique artifacts online, they point out, denies shoppers the opportunity to really experience the character of the merchandise.

“It’s not that I wanted to have a flea market, but I wanted to have a vintage showcase where people can come and buy a couple things that they normally can’t see or touch,” explains Spruill, who has an extensive retail background and notes that people recognize the superior quality of authentic vintage items over retro-style merchandise from big-box stores. Combining forces and inviting other vendors with complementary offerings, they developed Well Worn Vintage, which had its inaugural event at Gallery 5 on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. “The Gallery 5 space provided the perfect backdrop for the market, with vendors crammed in every space downstairs and spilling out front,” Hugel recalls.

Following the success of May’s launch, which exceeded its originators’ expectations in terms of turnout, sales, and feedback, Well Worn Vintage will return to Gallery 5 in mid-August for a back-to-school market and a holiday market in November or December. According to Spruill, Well Worn Vintage has already nearly doubled the number of vendors who will participate in the next event, and they expect to bring two or three food trucks on board. “The amount of interest that we got just shows that Richmond does support the event and the concept, and that we would continue to get interest and excitement for something that’s unique in Richmond.”

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Anika has contributed to Richmond Grid magazine since its launch and has covered everything more the city’s vibrant music scene to nonprofits making an impact in the community. Anika works at TMI, a Richmond based diversity and inclusion management consulting firm.