Savvy shoppers are always on the hunt for a great deal. And with the recent spike in vintage, thrift and local consignment becoming a trend, the market has given way for local shops to make their mark. Heartworn Vintage, The Lady Jane and Whatever Vintage are Harrisonburg’s hidden gems. From fashion to home décor, each one is sure to have something for every visitor to their shops.
So, for students looking for a way to express individuality in a world of mass-production, these stores bring a unique opportunity to play with your style in a non-typical way.
Nestled in the new Agora Downtown Market lies a blast from the past. Heartworn Vintage, owned by a mother-daughter duo, opened this June. “As a kid, I went to a lot of flea-markets and yard sales,” said Allie Motyka. “My mom has always been collecting and I’ve been doing the same since I was in high school.”
This unique shop sells items ranging from the 1920’s to the late 80’s: clothing, shoes, accessories, housewares, knick-knacks, furniture, artwork, and more.
Prior to their opening, Motyka said they were sourcing items for the store from auctions and thrift stores in Virginia and surrounding states.
“Now that we’ve opened, we’re having people bring stuff to us or having us come to their house to look through what they have,” said Motyka.
From Motyka’s favorite Starburst wall clock to a vintage Ouija Board, each piece in Heartworn is special.
“A lot of the things in here have at one time been mine, or my moms,” said Motyka. “And we have a hard time letting them go. But it is fun to circulate the items in-and-out.”
Motyka says the diversity of items in the store and the location is attracting a wide array of customers.
“Tourists, locals, students, students with their families, there really is something for everyone,” said Motyka.
Regardless if you find something to take home or you just exit with a heightened curiosity, Heartworn Vintage will leave you feeling nostalgic.
Motyka says nostalgia surrounds the store as people often tell her stories when an item reminds them of a memory from the past.
The Lady Jane
The Lady Jane is located downtown, specializing in vintage goods, home décor, and gifts. Owner and JMU alumna, Sara Christensen (’08), opened the shop in 2011, drawing inspiration from her favorite author, Jane Austen.
“When we bring things into our home they say a lot about us, and when you walk into somebody’s home you see so much about who they are,” said Christensen. “I thought that we write the story of who we are and our families are by what we bring and decorate our home with.”
Initially, the shop focused primarily on furniture and home accessories. Christensen said their location at the time allowed them to store more pieces.
“I was going to flea-markets, antique dealers,” said Christensen. “I was doing a lot of collecting, doing some refinishing myself too….finding some pieces that were in good shape but just needed a little love.”
In 2014, The Lady Jane moved locations. Christensen said this change was great for the store, but she had to change the focus from mainly furniture to diversifying the rest of the inventory.
“We still carry vintage pieces and antique furniture but we also do specialty gifts and a lot of local art,” said Christensen. “I went from collecting everything myself to having 30 vendors and artists who I get to work with individually to produce some items for the shop.”
Christensen says the relationships she has developed over the years has shaped the store’s identity. She gets to order items with specific people in mind, creating an environment where people can come in for inspiration.
“The Lady Jane is, I hope, a place people can come to find things for people they care about, things that inspire them for their own home, and a place that supports local entrepreneurs.”
Located on South Main Street, Whatever Vintage is a thrift and vintage boutique that opened its doors in March of 2015. Owner Jessica Kyger started thrifting at age 16. After collecting for almost five years, she decided to take her hobby to the next level and share her vintage gems with the Harrisonburg community.
“No matter your age, no matter your style, literally whatever you are looking for I want to be able to provide that,” said Kyger.
Kyger’s shop shares a building with the White Unicorn Hair Salon and is quite a hidden gem; she says you might miss if you don’t pay close enough attention.
Whatever Vintage carries men and women’s clothing and accessories that range from the 1950’s to the 90’s.
“Interest in the clothing spans from children, to older adults and everyone in between,” said Kyger.
Kyger is currently a one-woman show. She runs the shop and does all of the inventory collection as well. Her main goal is to provide people with reliable, long-lasting, and stylish pieces without breaking the bank.
“Not a lot of people have the patience to dig through hundreds of mediocre garments to find that.”
“I’m the middle man here,” said Kyger.“I’ll go out into the thrift realm and find the best of the best stuff there is to offer and bring it back.”