The Vintage Raven sets up shop in Mt. Pleasant
BY BRYCE KELLY
Mt. Pleasant News
Those planning to take a quick trip through The Vintage Raven may have to make a second trip. With the store’s extensive inventory of well over 5,000 eclectic trinkets, toys, and vintage treasures, patrons of the store have much to peruse.
At the helm of the newly opened art deco and vintage shop on South Jefferson Street, in Mt. Pleasant, are Sam and Jen Riepe. First-time small business owners, Jen and Sam say they are enjoying getting settled in their new business venture, and say they foresee a bright future for their shop.
While not totally new to the antique and vintage supply world, the Riepes say there has still been a major learning curve to owning their own business. The Vintage Raven currently resides in a space previously owned by Jim Miller, the owner of Brown Bear’s Basket, whom Jen previously worked for. Sam and Jen signed the shop’s lease in early November.
“Jen had been working for Jim for awhile before we decided to do this. He very graciously asked us if we would be interested in buying the store, gave us a great deal, and now just a short time later we are up and running,” said Sam. “It’s surreal to think back to how quickly it all came together.”
For Jen, the store is a full-time job. Sam maintains his full-time job from their home, and works as the shop’s main bookkeeper, co-manager and inventory co-manager.
“Our main thing is to offer customers a wide range of pieces, not just antiques, that are unique. Things that you aren’t going to find at any other art or home décor store – those are the kinds of things we offer,” says Sam.
According to him, Jen is the main mastermind behind the store’s stock, and says the entire store is centered largely around her eye for style.
“When we first started with this store, we had a lot of pieces to work with already, and Jen has really taken everything and figured out how to display it all,” Sam said on behalf of his wife, who was unavailable for comment at the time of the interview. “She’s brilliant at all of this and makes it all happen.”
Longtime residents of the Mt. Pleasant area, Sam and Jen are both very proud to be running a business in Mt. Pleasant. And, according to Sam, their timing in opening their store has proved to work in their favor.
“The economy is doing better than it has in recent years, and people are buying things,” said Sam, who added that they are fortunate to have Jim Miller as a mentor. “We have also seen downtown Mt. Pleasant go through a revitalization in the past five years or so. And we do think that this is a great place to be because of the revitalization that is happening. We are optimistic for sure.”
Looking ahead, Sam and Jen say they are excited for the future and are looking forward to becoming more engrained in the Mt. Pleasant community. Additionally, they say they hope to one day be able to expand their business even further.
“We are blessed to have amazing customers, dealers and consigners. To have people who can bring in things that are unique and interesting and then to have customers who are willing to purchase those things is amazing,” Sam says. “We look forward to opening the shop every day, and that’s a good feeling to have.”