AMHERST (CBS) — At a time when online retailers are forcing brick and mortar stores to close, something different is happening near the University of Massachusetts. In downtown Amherst, a new shop with an old feel just opened its doors. And it all started on a former student’s Instagram feed.
When you walk into the Mass Vintage store, it feels like a lot like the ’80s and ’90s.
The walls are adorned with former sports stars like Bo Jackson and Larry Bird and Champion sweatshirts remain a top brand.
Co-owner Dan Williams said it started when he was still in a dorm room. “It really just started at UMass as a side hobby. I was super into the ’80s and ’90s snapback hats. I love the way they fit.”
And during that time, Dan started to collect a lot of hats getting them from a variety of sources like thrift stores, eBay, Instagram and Facebook.
Eventually, he started selling the ones he didn’t want on Instagram. And by the time Dan graduated, his mini-business was going so well, he started a website.
Later, he asked his girlfriend Maddison Dyment to help him out with his business.
Maddison said, “I was happy to do that, my parents were like ‘oh my God! Are you sure? Is everything going to be okay?’”
Two years later, all those online sales have led to a physical store and not the other way around.
Dan said it has been a symbiotic relationship, “Social media has really provided this brand new tool to not only meet clients and potential customers but other resellers or other people who are interested in what you’re doing.”
Dan was just a little kid in the ’90s, but believes things were made better back then. “Sometimes if you want the true look you need to have the original piece and you got to go hunting for it that’s what I found out,” he said.
And the hunt for his life partner has been in the works for years. On the same day Dan and Maddison opened the store, Dan proposed to his high school sweetheart.
They said it’s something they will never forget. “It was a great day.” Dan recalled. “I will remember that moment forever.”
Maddison agreed, “My mom was freaking out. She was losing her marbles.”
And for now, the couple hopes their customers’ appetite for nostalgia will continue. Whether that appetite is for California Raisins or Mister Potato Head.