Joe Camel cigarette hats. University of Kentucky sweatshirts from the 80s. Retro Indianapolis 500 pennants. These are just some offerings from Covington’s newest clothing retailer Hometown Vintage.
Ray Vietti, Kyle Wulff and Griffin Mouty, a trio of seasoned vintage clothing entrepreneurs, recently opened the brick-and-mortar store. Mouty told LINK nky the inspiration behind the store was to “sell stuff that we already liked ourselves.”
“When we’re looking through a rack of t-shirts, the first thing that comes to mind is ‘would we put this in our own closet,” he said.
Mouty is familiar with selling vintage clothing and has been in the game for several years. He founded Tuff Vintage, an online retailer, alongside his brother Jake in 2016. A Cincinnati native, Mouty said he always had a passion for style and clothing.
“It all stemmed from was just going to flea markets growing up and liking in the older stuff,” Mouty said. “Clothing was an easy access point.”
Vietti’s path was different. He came from the world of music. Vietti played in an Americana band called The Harmed Brothers. While touring the United States in a van, he frequently visited thrift stores, searching for pieces for himself and his friends. Over time, he noticed a market for throwback t-shirts and worn Levi jeans.
He relocated to the Cincinnati region in the late 2010s, eventually linking up with Mouty over a shared appreciation of vintage clothing. Together, they and Vietti’s partner Kyle Wulff came up with the idea for Hometown Vintage.
“I think it’s (vintage clothing) an effort to try to stand out in some way,” Vietti said. “More essential, more classic single stitch t-shirts. Just quality made products that have stood the test of time already.”
Their store is at 2 W. Pike St., the former site of another vintage clothier, Peachy & Vintage. Before moving in, the storefront was owned a Renaissance Covington, a recently shuttered beautification nonprofit. Renaissance Covington ran the Pike Street Popup out of the space, a rotating pop-up shop for urban retail startups. Hometown Vintage was the last store operating out of the pop-up before it shut down.
In addition to their interest in vintage clothing, the founders wanted to run an environmentally sustainable business.
“Recycling and reusing is becoming more popular and mainstream,” Mouty said. “We have a lot more access to the information of what new clothing does and that’s definitely trickled down into all ages to have awareness.”
Nostalgia also plays a large role in Hometown Vintage.
“The 70s, 80s and 90s, and the nostalgia of those areas is really popular right now,” Mouty said.
Vietti said trends can come and go, but people have continued to find a way to incorporate vintage clothing into their contemporary outfits, even mixing and matching styles from different past eras.
“It goes in waves,” he said.
Hometown Vintage is open five days a week. It runs on Wednesday from 4 to 8 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 1 to 8 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.