Born In Tallahassee, Local Vyntage Tees Are Going National
Originally, the firm provided ready-to-wear nostalgia only for the capital cities of Florida and Texas.
What began as a small tee shirt business in Tallahassee a few years ago is now taking other parts of the country by storm. Still, the firm's founder is keeping the Capital City in mind, even after moving back to his original home base of Boston, Massachusetts.
Chet Winnicki came up with the idea of Local Vyntage in 2017; selling a line of tee shirts that paid homage to some of the community's fondly-recalled, but now defunct names.
"When we were in Tallahassee, we were having these intimate, one-on-one conversations with customers. They were telling us how excited they are about their memories of Mutt & Jeff's and the Tallahassee Tigersharks. But then they started telling us about, 'Hey, did you know there were a bunch of Sing Stores around here? We still call them Sing Stores even though they've changed names.'"
Winnicki's Local Vyntage designs went on to include other lost logos from Mugs 'n Movies, the Prince Mural Motel and Suwanee Swifty. Last year Winnicki returned to his previous hometown of Boston. But he's kept the business growing.
"When we first launched, it was just Tallahassee and Austin, Texas. Now we served 15 different cities, each with at least 5 tee shirt designs and that's across 10 states."
All of those designs, he said, were researched with the same devotion to triggering those happy memories that are so specific to each hometown.
"Really the draw, I think, is connecting back with a simpler time in your life. A time that seemed simpler and warm. And then when you wear the shirts, you can connect with other people who share those common memories, which may be intimate memories in a specific place and you feel like you're part of a little club."
Certainly, when it comes to Florida's Capital City, one of the biggest clubs contains devoted Florida State University fans. Winnicki has something special and different for them.
"We have stuff that other people don't and can't offer. We have the original 'old' Seminole head with the newer garnet and gold colors that customers were dying to get. We also have a very cool Warhol-inspired Seminole tee. So now we have 6 different FSU tee shirts. It was something we launched last year with the football team down a little bit and then the pandemic hit and we're still excited to spread the word about that tee shirt collection."
Beyond that, Winnicki has some new surprises on the way for the folks in his former hometown.
"So we have new Tallahassee designs in the works. Can't say what they are, but they'll be rolling out this year."
The Local Vyntage web site: localvyntage.com - provides a full catalog of the various nostalgic offerings for a growing collection of communities.