Located on a sunny part of Halsey Street in Downtown Newark is a new store that promises to satisfy your inner treasure hunter. The Halsey Vintage Shoppe at 87 Halsey Street is chock full of vintage, antique and even brand-new goods: sport jerseys, paintings, delicate tea cups, vinyl records, books, furniture and more. You can easily spend a whole afternoon combing the store, whose every corner seems to be filled with something interesting that you could take home.
On a recent afternoon, the store had on display a grandfather clock, a vintage jukebox, a wood china cabinet that’s more than one hundred years old, and an intricately carved wine cabinet/bar. You can pick up a barber chair or canoe oars as well. Art books abound in wood crates, ready for their new home. Many of the store’s items are from the mid-20th Century and onwards, such as the 80s – which feeds into the latest trends for Reagan years nostalgia.
The store also features wearable artwork by local artists such as sports jerseys that have been altered with paint and thread. One such jersey had a painted homage to the 1979 cult movie, The Warriors. The altered clothing is part of an ongoing collaboration between local artists and the store.
Aaron Knopfler is the owner of the Halsey Vintage Shoppe, which opened about four months ago and is one of the newest Hanini Group tenants. Recently, we sat down with him for an interview to ask him about business.
Why did you open a vintage shop in Newark?
I opened for two reasons. One is that this area is the Newark arts district. So, there are very creative people, professionals here, artsy people. Also, I did research and saw college kids really love vintage everything, but vintage clothing especially. And I was trying to find a location that was within driving distance from my home. And my research showed me that within a mile and a half of this location there's about 50,000 college students here - between Rutgers University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Essex County College, Seton Hall University and a few others.
When did you have the idea for this venture?
I started formally formulating the idea well over a year ago, almost a year and a half ago. And the way I got into this business is I bought a huge close out of vintage sports apparel. I felt there is a need for a place where people can actually touch and feel this kind of merchandise to appreciate it.
We also buy a lot from estates, different close out deals like storage units, and we have also taken donations here in the store. We get a lot of different opportunities to acquire really hugh quality vintage merchandise.
Do you have other people helping you staff the store?
I'm the owner of the business, and I'm purposely hiring local people from the community to help me. I have several part time to full time workers working in different stages, different areas of my retail store, whether it's in sales or social media.
Have you scoped out other vintage stores, such as in Montclair, just to see what they're doing or selling?
I have not. But I know that Montclair is more expensive. In fact, customers are constantly telling me that they are very happy with my pricing because Montclair prices are higher and their stores are much smaller. And we have a huge store. We have a large selection of items and the prices are very reasonable for the quality of merchandise that we have.
How’s business been since you opened your doors?
We're very happy with the progress of the business from day one. I've been in other retail businesses before. It takes a very long time for people to really start coming into a brand-new business. But you have people coming in and they buy things, they post on Instagram, they refer the store to other customers, bring in their friends, bring in their family. We're very happy with that part of the progress. Obviously, business is nothing like it should be because of the pandemic. But we literally get people here every day who come in and say, “Wow, there's a vintage store here?”
It’s definitely growing. We would love to grow some more, and that's what we're hoping for as more people get vaccinated.
What’s been the reaction from the neighborhood and shoppers about the store?
I literally have people come in here sometimes and they stand by the door and they say, “I can't come in here because I know I am going to get hooked.” People are really excited we are here.
Halsey Vintage Shoppe
87 Halsey Street, Newark New Jersey
11 am to 6 pm
Monday to Friday
Sunday 12 to 5 pm