School of Vintage in Surf City is a gold mine for shoppers who are truly looking to purchase something that no one else will have. The shop is a lot like the creative online marketplace Etsy, only in person. In fact, the store’s owners, Erin Buterick, 30, of Manahawkin and Jeannine Errico, 32, of Tuckerton originally opened the vintage and handmade clothing and accessories boutique on Etsy in 2004.
|Photo by Ryan Morrill|
School of Vintage shop owners Jeannine Errico
and Erin Buterick offer alterations by appointment.
“If it’s something we would wear, we’ll sell it,” said Buterick, who favors soft, neutral colors.
“You can’t go wrong with the ’40s or ’50s,” added Errico, who seeks out bold colors and structured lines. “We’ll sell anything, but the ’60s has too much polyester. There’s too much psychedelic-looking stuff.”
|Photo by Ryan Morrill|
SOV offers one of a kind
Business is usually booming at School of Vintage during the summertime when tourists frequent the area. But as with many specialty niche shops on LBI, the store is only open on Saturdays and by appointment on Mondays during the fall and winter months, when business slows.
The shop owners said they do not have any plans to relocate despite certain obstacles.
“There’s almost something to the challenge of surviving in a place where we kind of stick out. Maybe it’ll help bring other left-of-center ventures here,” said Buterick. “We do feel like this area needs something a little bit different. We’re waiting it out for the locals to catch on and start coming year ’round. I know they’re here, because I grew up here. I would have killed for a place like this,” she added.
Customers in the know are very loyal, the owners said. Many have even become friends, bonding over the eclectic pieces offered in the store. Patrons are known to buy their favorite items right away, as they understand the inventory does not stick around. A number of women have even purchased their wedding dresses in advance.
“Our stock is always evolving and changing. If you see something and you like it, you should probably buy it because it probably won’t be here long. It happens all the time,” said Buterick.
The store’s clothing and housewares offer an interesting and unique design but are also classic and timeless.
The shop owners recently acquired an array of inventory from Johnnie’s Beachwear in Surf City, a popular store on LBI that opened in 1947 and closed around 1960. The original owner’s nephew, local resident Richard Jeffries, had kept the clothing in storage until finally selling it off this summer.
The owners also recently purchased handmade, vintage-style clothing from Barnegat Light resident Karen Larson. Handmade jewelry and bath and body products as well as vintage-inspired art are also consigned from other local artisans.
Buterick and Errico sell their own handmade clothing and handcrafted perfume in their new venture, Modern Chemistry. Custom headpieces and wedding veils can also be specially ordered.
Buterick offers alterations for any item purchased at the shop or elsewhere. She specializes in mending vintage attire, including lace, silk and other fine materials.
For more information, visit schoolofvintage.com or call 609-494-1171.
–Kelley Anne Essinger
This article was published in The SandPaper.