MORGANTOWN — Retro-tique isn’t your run-of-the-mill vintage clothing and antique store.
You won’t find bland or yellowing clothes, haphazardly strewn books or slightly chipped glassware — and owners Dan Kocan and Jillian Kelly intend to keep it that way.
This eccentric boutique on Walnut Street offers customers high-quality products for every age, from mid-century modern decor and avant-garde clothing to cheap vinyl and vintage toys.
“We’re picky on the clothes. We’re looking for the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s basically, and it’s really, really hard to find because you just can’t go online to buy them. Finding high-quality clothes is a challenge,” Kocan said.
Kelly agreed. She said their dedication to bring high-quality vintage clothing and merchandise is what sets them apart from other stores.
“We set a plan of what kind of things we’re going to carry. With the clothing, it’s not like going to Goodwill — the stuff from Goodwill that you went around and searched and found that gem — you found the one good thing,” she said. “We don’t want to have anything that’s not in good condition.”
Teal-colored walls and pops of color from the clothing and merchandise brighten the store and create a unique environment for shoppers. Kelly said she wanted to create a welcoming environment for people and showcase the store’s collection of one-of-a-kind items.
Kocan is also the owner of the fine lingerie store Dahlia’s, located next door. The Pittsburgh resident said the idea for Retro-tique developed this past summer when he was trying to solve a dilemma with his front window display.
He said the main window gets a lot of sun, which ended up bleaching and destroying several clothing items on the display. To solve this issue he started to feature antique pieces in the window instead, and people started coming in off the street to buy them.
Around that time Kelly, who was an employee at Dahlia’s, came back from vacation. She started talking to him about maybe someday owning a store that focused on selling high-quality retro and vintage items.
It just so happened the building beside Dahlia’s was vacant, and the two asked how much it would cost to rent.
The next day they were going into business together.
“It’s funny, we’re like yin and yang. We just both fit where the other one doesn’t. We complement each other very well and work very well together,” Kelly said.
While Kelly manages the store, organizes merchandise and interacts with customers, Kocan does the “treasure hunting.”
“I can’t limit myself to just Morgantown,” he said, adding he will travel to antique shows in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio to find the one-of-a-kind treasures. “The search is pretty big. You have to put on the miles, but it doesn’t bother me.”
Before he leaves for an auction, the two talk about what items they would like to have in their store.
Sometimes he comes back to the store with one good find, and other times he brings back boxed lots instead.
Kocan said it is much easier to buy boxed lots of merchandise. He said a lot of the time people will bid against him for a single item, driving up the price and making it too expensive to sell at the store.
So, with boxed lots, he can gather several items to sell at Retro-tique.
Kocan also will go on specialty treasure hunts, if customers have a certain item they would like to find.
“I’ll find it — somehow, somewhere it’s out there,” he said.
And if Kelly sees something she thinks one of their regulars will like, she will call them up and tell them about the item.
In addition to its vintage clothing, Retro-tique also carries an impressive collection of oddities, including a few taxidermied rattlesnakes, alligator feet, small animal skulls, mink pelts and even a preserved pet baby monkey in a globe.
“Jill is really big into the oddities, so I look for stuff like that,” Kocan said. “It’s a big deal down here. People love it — the insects, the bones, the skulls — you name it, we have it all.”
Kelly said there is something for everyone and every budget in their store, with prices ranging from less than $10 to more than $200.
She said she is thankful for the support they receive from the community and other local businesses.
“I like keeping it local. Small business is so important, which is what is so great about downtown Morgantown — it’s really awesome because we all know how important it is to have small business because otherwise you have nothing,” Kelly said. “Downtown Morgantown is really neat because we do have all these little shops. Otherwise, there’s nothing original, there’s nothing fun and there’s nothing local.”
She said they would love to expand in the future and be able to sell more items in their boutique, but for now she is happy with her dream store.
“It’s everything I think we could have ever imagined,” she said. “It’s the store I’ve always wanted.”
The Retro-tique Boutique is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
For more information, call the store at 304-292-0950 or email them at email@example.com.
Contact writer Shawnee Moran at 304-348-4872 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @shawneemoran22.