Northgate Vintage gets a new look
Published: Thursday, September 6, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 6, 2012 02:09
Every day, Texas A&M students embark on numerous kinds of challenging endeavors. Kate Vincent, a senior biomedical engineering major, used her faith, creativity and business skills to breath new life to Northgate Vintage, a vintage clothing store on University Drive.
Vincent owns a small business, Crowns and Chandeliers, where she sold hand-made headbands as a fun way to make money for mission trips and other expenses. When Northgate Vintage, a store that carried her headbands, was put up for sale in August, she saw an opportunity to pursue something bigger.
“When I called to restock, [store owner] Ranger told me he was selling the business. I really loved the character and the feel and the uniqueness of the place and was interested to see what someone would do with it,” Vincent said. “Later, I came across the ad in the paper, and the numbers looked doable for me. I mentioned it to my parents and they thought it was crazy and I thought it was crazy.”
But the possibility of owning the store blossomed into reality when Vital Seed, a company dedicated to investing in Christian-oriented businesses, invited Vincent to present her ideas.
“I was floored and honored that they would consider me for an investment, so I decided I was going to start dreaming. I pitched the idea of having a vintage-style boutique,” Vincent said. ‘They felt like I qualified for investment.”
After further discussion with her parents and encouragement from the store’s previous owner, Vincent decided to take the leap and become a student entrepreneur. Since signing the contracts two weeks ago, she has been hard at work planning, renovating and stocking for the Northgate Vintage reopening Thursday night.
Vincent will be preserving some aspects of the store but will also bring her own changes.
“It's going to be such a unique place, one that you'd have to go to either Dallas or Houston to find anything close to it,” said junior allied health major and Northgate Vintage employee Camille Doster.
Vincent plans to replace the previous stock of used clothing with vintage-inspired clothes sold at reasonable prices for college students. Vincent will continue to carry TOMS and accessories, including her signature line of headbands. In the future, she will also carry select, affordable vintage pieces.
“The whole store has been renovated from a grunge-vintage look to a more shabby-chic, open environment,” Vincent said. “In the past, it was also a hub for live music on first Thursdays. I want to keep that and make it a chance to just hang out, listen to music and have free coffee.”
As her business grows, she plans to sell free-trade items. Next month, Northgate Vintage will begin carrying a cosmetic line, Radiant, that donates a portion of proceeds to anti-sex trafficking ministries. JOYN, a line of free-trade handbags crafted in India, will also be offered in the future.
JOYN is an organization designed to create artistic job opportunities for those living in poverty in India.
“Those are the things I’m looking to carry,” said Vincent. “Things with a story.”
As a student, and therefore part of her target market, Vincent has a unique perspective when it comes to selecting merchandise and pricing items.
"Since Kate's a college student herself, she really knows what girls our age are wanting when it comes to style, and the prices that we can actually afford," Doster said.
Vincent said when she is shopping for new items to sell in the store, she gathers her roommates and other women her age to offer their opinions.
She also plans to incorporate her faith into the business by operating on Christian values and creating an inviting environment for all.
“A portion of every monthly income has already been set apart to be donated to local ministries and local people in need,” Vincent said. “As a business, I want to follow the principles that God has laid for us for our daily lives, and so that means giving beyond. I just know that the Lord is going to honor that and make this a ministry to bless other people.”
The reopening of Northgate Vintage on Thursday will begin at 8 p.m. and will last until midnight. Kaitlyn O’Brian and Votary will be performing live and free Starbucks coffee will be served.
“I’m incredibly excited for the grand reopening. It’s a unique team working at Northgate Vintage and I’m thrilled to be a part of it,” said senior recreation, park and tourism sciences major and Northgate Vintage employee Gracie Turner.