Kendra Newton works for the WKND.
The Vintage WKND, that is to say.
One of the most popular shopping spots in downtown Somerset is right in Fountain Square – with great views of the Community Center, as it’s on the second floor.
The store focuses on unique vintage clothing – mostly from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, some from the early 2000s – including shirts, jeans, dresses, shoes, hats and accessories. Newton buys, sells and trades parts, men’s and women’s clothing, and much of it fits the ‘tomboy chic’ aesthetic.
Newton started the business last year – “a few weeks before the first round of COVID,” she recalls, adding with a smile, “Now is a great time to start a business” – but was able to take advantage of it. ‘a grand opening for the store in September of 2020.
Newton is a native of the area, having attended Pulaski County High School, and taught and coached basketball in Southwestern. But while teaching physical education and health classes may have its charms, Newton’s keen sense of style demanded its due.
âI’ve always wanted to do something in fashion, so I realized teaching wasn’t really what I wanted to do,â she said.
Newton moved to New York for three months and interned with a celebrity stylist there, and returned home. At first, she wasn’t sure what her next move would be, but after seeing a resurgence of interest in vintage clothing, Newton knew there was a niche to be filled locally.
Her parents, Kenny and Jennifer Hyden, own another store in town, The Eclectic Turtle, which sells a wide variety of unique items, but no clothing.
âMy parents always loved antiques and stuff like that,â she said, âso I guess that’s where I get it.â¦ They opened (their store) and I said, ‘You have to make clothes. And they just didn’t really have time to have fun with it because they both had full time jobs. I was like, “I’m going to handle it and sell some. clothes “, and it worked much better than I expected.
“I thought a store like this would be a great addition to Somerset,” she added, saying she had moved six to eight months later, “and here I am now.”
The building in which the store is located – one of the oldest structures in the community housing commercial businesses – helps to create a pleasant atmosphere, as does the downtown setting. “The exposed brick and everything, just the vibe of the building itself, really goes with the vintage (concept).”
And while for those of a certain age, clothes from this period may seem less curious than nostalgic, the vintage look has proven to be very popular with today’s young people, who make up a large part of the clientele of Newton.
âIt’s super trendy for the high school and college age,â Newton said, âbut you’d be surprised. Even (during) the auto show, there’s a lot of traffic here, and downtown festivals I’m very busy.
And Newton knows how to seduce the younger market, since she is part of it herself.
“I’m 27,” she said, “so obviously I’m wearing it.”
But if you are more in the âmarriage and familyâ stage of life than in your teens, you can still feel right at home in Vintage WKND. Newton observed that Mayor Alan Keck’s wife Tiffany walked in and found a pair of high waisted jeans she liked; âShe had a pair and now all the local moms are coming,â she said with a laugh.
Vintage WKND’s decorations add to its fun look – things like a neon “Bates Motel” sign, nostalgic advertisements, images of the iconic ’90s Chicago Bulls NBA race and 80s movie posters, for example; much of it came from his parents’ store. Some decors Newton might sell – “for the right price” – but that’s not a store target or something she advertises (although the “Bates Motel” sign is banned, she noted) .
âEventually, I’d like to sell furniture and stuff like that too, but it’s on the go,â Newton said.
As for the store’s catchy name, Newton said she was initially drawn to the idea of ââhaving a day of the week there, but couldn’t decide which one she preferred.
âIt started off ‘Vintage Friday’, but then I was like ‘I like Saturday’ and then ‘Well Sunday is cool too,'” she said. “So I just did ‘Weekend’ and then I spelled it that way, just to make it different.”
The Vintage WKND has an online presence on Instagram and Facebook (@thevintagewknd), but to have a real experience you have to walk through the gates of the Fountain Square, under the neon sign which has added jazz to the area, and climb the flight of stairs in a surprising wonderland of vintage goodies.
âIt has been surprisingly amazing, considering everything we’ve been through in the past two years,â she said. âI couldn’t have asked for a better start to the year.