No Ordinary Garage
Preservation has always been in Angie Priest’s blood. Her family has been integral to the rebirth of Cincinnati’s historic Over-The-Rhine neighborhood, where they’ve restored several buildings. When she wanted to expand her antique and vintage sales and rental business, selecting a historic building was a no-brainer.
Originally from Cincinnati, Priest now lives in a historic house in Vevay, so the hunt for new space began just outside her front door in the charming town’s historic downtown. When available storefronts didn’t quite fit her business, a serendipitous discussion with local property owner Lisa Fisher led her to an unexpected location.
A long-time proponent of historic preservation in Vevay, Fisher restored the Schenck Mansion, which she and her husband operate as a bed-and-breakfast. She suggested Priest check out the former Texaco station in downtown. Vacant for years and hidden behind a high wooden fence, the station last served as an operations office for a local business. Seeing potential in the open space, downtown location, and parking lot that could be used for special events, Priest jumped at the chance to rent the station from the Fishers.
To get the space showroom-ready, the Fishers replaced the aging roof, and Priest recruited a team of family and friends to clean up the inside. The open, airy space is walled inside and out with white metal panels, which required heavy doses of elbow grease to scrub clean. The floor also needed heavy-duty scouring and paint.
The fluorescent light fixtures over the former garage bays are so old that replacement bulbs are no longer made. Instead of removing the fixtures, Priest chose to leave them in place and light the showroom with strands of outdoor lights instead. She even chose to keep the former station’s exterior access to restrooms. The result is a space that works effectively as a gallery and shop, but never hides its origin.
Future work includes theme-appropriate signage, and restoring a second exterior restroom. Priest has applied for a city façade improvement grant to restore the green stripe detail along the roofline as well.
At the new Vevay Vintage Prop & Shop, shoppers can find a range of items — from antique sofas and dressers to costume jewelry and vintage dishware. In addition, all of the merchandise can be rented for photo shoots, weddings, and other events. Priest also plans to use the revived space for events, including evening concerts, and will rent the venue for private events.
Vevay Vintage Prop & Shop is open at 110 Main Street in Vevay. Check it out during Vevay’s Swiss Wine Festival on August 25, when the store will serve as a pop-up shop for clothing company LuLaRoe.
For more information and the latest schedule of events, visit the shop’s Facebook page.
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