Friendly competition between a mother and her two daughters to see who could set the most lavish holiday tablescape eventually gave way to The Vintage Pantry Co., a new home decor shop opening in Wilmington’s Marsh Triangle Shops on Oct. 14.
“We always included vintage items,” says design and merchandising director Blair Lee of the family contests. “The idea for a business like this started there.”
The Vintage Pantry Co., per its catchphrase, offers “one-of-a-kind vintage finds and everyday entertaining essentials,” including items like tea towels, furniture and tableware. The family is also working with local artisans.
“It’s really important that we be part of and support the community,” Lee says.
Local crafts on sale range from hand-poured candles from Moderncity + Main, unique terrariums by Twig Gardens, homemade soaps and lotions by Earthen Vibes and chunky woolen blankets from Meraki Wool.
“We didn’t want to have just a typical antique store,” Lee says. “We wanted to be a store that offers things for anyone’s taste.”
Lee says their vintage and vintage-inspired items remind them of heirlooms from past decades or eras. The women have been collecting vintage items from estate auctions, flea markets, yard sales and consignment shops for years.
“Vintage items make up a significant part of our inventory since that’s where we all get the most inspiration,” Lee says. “We go off of intuition and pick up the items that speak to us and our aesthetic.”
The trio—Kim Patterson, CEO; Leah Shank, social media manager; and Lee—started seriously working on the business in April. After Patterson left her job in the corporate world, she was interested in doing something more creative, Lee says. So were Lee and Shank, who work in insurance and banking, respectively.
“We want to fill that void that we don’t have at work—that creative piece of us,” she says. “We need to have an outlet for that. It’s fulfilling for my sister and me to explore that part of our personalities and have that creative outlet.”
Originally, they considered an online business.
“But, the more we talked about it, the parts we love the most are the design pieces—putting together vignettes or displays, showing people how they can use vintage items in new and interesting ways,” she says. “Brick-and-mortar lends itself more to that.”
They shifted gears and began looking for a space, eventually finding the property in Marsh Triangle Shops.
“We knew we wanted to stay in Delaware,” says Lee. “My mom and sister are local, and we wanted to be part of the Delaware community. There aren’t many stores like ours here, or not many we could find, so we thought the market was pretty open for ours.”
While there are other home goods stores in the state, Lee says that what they offer is unique.
“We’re trying to inspire customers, show them how they can use some of those heirloom and vintage items and how to mix it into contemporary items,” she says. “We fill a gap here that I haven’t seen [many stores fill].”
When the idea for the business started, Lee says they all agreed to one thing: quality.
“My mom, my sister and I—we have pretty different tastes and we all have our own unique style,” she says. “The one rule we all agreed to was that we wouldn’t have anything in the store that one of us wouldn’t love to have in our own homes. I think that’s going to help us relate to customers.”
Lee is excited to bring their products and style to local shoppers, as well as forging a legacy with her mother and sister.
“We have this family of really strong women,” she says. “This venture is going to be, I think, so exciting because I get to work with my mom and my sister in something. I’m excited to share something with them.”
The Vintage Pantry Co.
1731 Marsh Rd., (The Marsh Triangle), Wilmington
884-7575 • www.thevintagepantryco.com
Hours: The store is open Tuesday-Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.