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FROM ONLINE TO ON THE RIVERFRONT: EC Vintage to Open Brick-and-Mortar Shop

previously online-based vintage clothing store amps up for July opening

McKenna Scherer |

NEW SPACE FOR VINTAGE CLOTHES. Eau Claire Vintage has seen incredible online success since its inception about three years ago, and now, it's opening its own storefront. (Submitted photos)
NEW SPACE FOR VINTAGE CLOTHES. Eau Claire Vintage has seen incredible online success since its inception about three years ago, and now, it's opening its own storefront. (Submitted photos)

If you dabble in the local vintage clothing scene and stay tuned into Instagram, you’ll have certainly heard of – if not already shopped – Eau Claire Vintage.  Since first starting up about three years ago, founder Mike Shoultz has graduated from UW-Eau Claire and continued to grow his business with partner and co-CEO Giana Giarrusso. Now they have the keys to their first storefront.

EC Vintage primarily used its Instagram page (@ec.vintage) to sell clothes through “drops,” posts made with photos of items and descriptions with sizing info in the captions. Within hours, if not minutes, every clothing item in nearly every drop sold. Shoultz and Giarrusso ran a handful of pop-up events as well, which ultimately led the duo to search for a permanent storefront for EC Vintage.

“About a year ago, almost to the day, we started looking for a space,” Shoultz said. “Our pop-ups had just grown to be too big. We had three different pop-up spaces; two in Banbury (Place) and another on Wisconsin Street, and each time, (crowds) got bigger and the square footage was never enough.”




The last pop-up EC Vintage held was last November. The space quickly filled with eager shoppers and a two-hour line wait formed. The pop-up served roughly 1,200 people. That pop-up was the final sign that there was a legit audience in the Chippewa Valley for EC Vintage, but also that they needed to find a larger space to serve shoppers.

“The pop-ups were not only a ton of work for me and my girlfriend, but the last one had 1,200 people come through in six hours. With hours-long waits, it was just inefficient and decreased customer satisfaction,” Shoultz explained.

“The amount of customers that would show up was truly unbelievable,” Giarrusso added. “People waited in line in the rain, just to come through.” 

“So, that was where the need (for a permanent retail space came from). It was just time,” Shoultz said.

EC Vintage will also be selling shoes, a new addition, Shoultz said.
EC Vintage will also be selling shoes, a new addition, Shoultz said.

After finding not much space was available for a retail storefront in the Eau Claire area about a year ago, Shoultz heard about a new apartment building under construction in downtown Eau Claire – the Andante (100 N. Farwell St.) – which would also have three micro-spaces for businesses. Shoultz and Giarrusso moved quickly on the opportunity, knowing the spots would be gobbled up quickly once word spread.

The duo got the keys to their new space a few weeks ago. One of the advantages of moving into a brand-new store is that Shoultz had a say in how the space was shaped. After securing one of the three 600-square-foot retail spaces in Andante, the EC Vintage duo realized it wasn’t going to be large enough in the long run. Shoultz asked if the space next to theirs was still available, and after finding it was, he decided to rent that space as well and have the wall between the two knocked out. Now, the EC Vintage space is about 1,200 square feet.

“The selection is deep and high-quality.”



Painted all white and designed with a back area equipped with a washer and dryer for EC Vintage to use, the owners are now filling the space with the massive amount of clothing they’ve been saving since last November.

Unlike some resellers who get their stock from thrift and antique stores, Shoultz has a handful of consistent wholesaler suppliers who bring anywhere from 20 to 100 pounds of clothing to him at a time, which he goes through by hand. Once he pays for the pieces he wants, the cleaning processes begins: Some items need intense stain treatments on top of a regular wash-and-dry, sewing work, etc., Shoultz said.

Reselling is a contentious topic as more and more get into the reselling game, but Shoultz said he believes keeping clothing – especially vintage, unique pieces – out of landfills is a positive thing. "What I think is really great about people upcycling used clothes or selling vintage, is most often you're saving items from a landfill – that's what happens to most clothes that don't sell," he explained. "Big corps are getting the bulk, but most of the stuff they get, they don't even put out – it ends up in landfills. Resellers keep them from that. Every year, there's a number of super cool pieces of history that are just gone." 

So, what can folks expect from the EC Vintage brick-and-mortar shop? “(The store has) our best stuff from the last eight to nine months,” he said. “The selection is deep and high-quality.”

Shoultz said he has no plans of leaving the city he fell in love with as an incoming college freshman, and he and Giana agree that this is only the beginning.

“It’s been a very humbling process and I think EC Vintage is just the start of what this can be. I don’t know what the future holds, but I know this isn’t the finish line,” Shoultz said.

“This has been Mike’s biggest goal, to get his own storefront. It’s just amazing to see,” Giarrusso said. “It’s been a long secret to hold, honestly.”

And now that the secret’s out, EC Vintage is looking for employees to staff the store, which is tentatively planning for a July 8 opening. EC Vintage will announce its official opening date online, so keep up with them on their Instagram page.

Eau Claire Vintage will open in July at 100 N Farwell St., Eau Claire, in the Andante building. For an exact date, check the EC Vintage Instagram page