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Photo by Jay Paul
It's close quarters for the seven friends and two dogs that collectively make up Addison Handmade and Vintage, a curated goods shop that opened at 103 S. Addison St. on Aug. 26. "We know each other very well now," co-owner Ashley Carruthers says of the five independent vintage clothing and handmade accessory businesses that operate within the 500-square-foot space.
For more than 50 years, the sought-after building across the street from Lamplighter Roasting Co. housed Brown's Beautirama, so when Mat Shelton-Eide, another co-owner, saw the for rent sign in May during his weekend shift at the coffee shop, he knew he had to act fast.
"A lot of us have been best friends for years," co-owner Lauren O'Connor says of the septet of Virginia Commonwealth University alumni who signed a lease on June 1. A part-time yoga instructor, waitress at The Hill Café and VCU fashion alumna, O'Connor crafts leather kimono belts, wallets, purses and tool rows that she sells for $75 to $175 through her business, The Wild Heart. "We're working to build our own brands independently while we're under one roof," she says. The shop also carries O'Connor's sister's handmade jewelry line, Blue Begonia Jewelry.
Most of the items sold at the shop come from estate sales, auctions and flea markets around Virginia. "It started because my grandma just gave me clothing," Carruthers says of McCue Vintage, the shop titled after her grandmother's maiden name. In addition to sourcing from her ancestral closet, Carruthers finds men and women's vintage clothing at thrift stores in her hometown of Crozet. Like many of the other co-owners, she works another job — as a waitress at The Roosevelt — and she attends VCU full time. "I have to read 60 pages before 3 p.m." she says around noon on a Monday afternoon. "It's a good stress."