316 Vintage: a glimpse of a non-typical vintage store

This is not just an interview about sustainability. It’s a story of someone who does things uniquely differently. Driven by passion and love for what they do, and inspired to hunt for things that aren’t just well-made but have history and a story. In this interview we are getting to know a man and the story of 316 vintage

1- How did your journey as a vintage store owner driving around the US begin, and what inspired the concept of 316 Vintage Store in Minneapolis?

The journey started over 40 years ago when I started wearing Vintage in high school and college because it was cooler and cheaper than new clothes. At this time vintage wasn’t really a fashion statement. It was more functional. I didn’t go to thrift stores at that time. The only place to get it was a rag house called Ragstock in downtown Minneapolis. That is where most of us got vintage clothing locally and then a couple stores popped up. The main one was Tatters. I would go there to shop when I had some extra money. After a while I found that I had too much vintage clothing, so I needed to sell it. So I would take it into Tatters and either sell it or trade it with them. By the late 1980s I was starting to go to thrift stores and estate sales and garage sales to find the vintage. I was buying to wear it but also started to sell and trade it more to supplement my income. At this time I was also buying and selling antiques. In the early 2000s the antique business was getting soft, but the vintage clothing business seemed to pick up so I switched over to being a vintage clothing wholesaler. I bought sold and trade [bought, sold, and traded?] vintage clothing with local retail stores, and also dealers from around the country and world. Business continued like this until Covid pandemic came. This is when business slow down for me because people couldn’t travel so I shut down my wholesale operation and renovated my wholesale space into a retail store. after the pandemic, I opened my business as a retail store called 316. It is 316 because of John 3:16 in the Bible and it’s also my address! I like the idea of keeping things useful so that is why I was an antique dealer and vintage clothing dealer. I like the idea of preserving and continuing to use our history and our culture. I also think that vintage clothing is better quality clothing and of course more unique. I try to focus on USA made.

2- Is there any story of a specific piece that you would like to share?

My favorite piece of vintage clothing is a World War II jacket that my great aunt gave me when I was in high school. She lived in northern Minnesota. I was visiting on my motorcycle and the weather turned cold. I needed to drive back to Minneapolis and she gave it to me. It was my great uncle’s jacket. She said to not let him know that I took it to wear. It was OK because he died within six months of her giving it to me. And I have many other favorite pieces of Vintage. Many of them have been given to me by other people in the business or family members.

3- How do you encourage your customers to choose vintage clothes and reduce their environmental impact by choosing vintage over fast fashion, and why is it important to you?

I don’t really try to sell anybody on anything. I like for people to make the decision and what it is they like and what will work for them. The clothing should sell itself. I will put in my two cents worth of opinion if I have to. I like people to develop their own personal style on their own if possible. 

4- What is your vision for the future of 316 Vintage in terms of sustainability and its impact on both the fashion industry and the environment?

I will continue to hunt for and sell vintage clothing to my customers as long as there is an interest. The fashion world is always changing. If it doesn’t work, I will start hunting for something else because I have always been one to collect or hunt for old stuff. Kind of an archaeologist type of mentality.

So looking at the story of mike and 316 vintage, let's carry forward the inspiration of passion, uniqueness, and a sustainable vision for the future. Thank you for joining us on this remarkable journey. 🌍💚