Cockloft Village owner finds home on Broadway for vintage items, clothing store in Green Bay
With fall events nearly over, the On Broadway District is looking forward to its busiest holiday schedule ever. And Tina Kelly, owner of Cockloft Vintage, is thrilled to be a part of it.
Less than a year ago, when Kelly was planning to open a vintage boutique, she knew she wanted to be in a neighborhood that complimented the concept. The On Broadway district ticked all the boxes.
“I wanted to be somewhere older and imagined an old storefront with big windows and brick walls,” she said. “I also wanted to be in a place that attracted foot traffic. When I met the Marketing Director of On Broadway and other business owners, everyone was so supportive. I love that ‘they hold several events throughout the year, and I’m around the corner from where the Farmers Market starts.
Finding the space capped off a frantic few months. Kelly had spent her career in the mental health industry focusing on the needs of others. She had decided it was time to take a break and do something for herself. To this end, she did a self-assessment.
“I went through a checklist,” she said. “What did I enjoy doing? What are my passions? I live in an older house and thought about my love for older pieces, what they represent, and the story behind them. I thought other people would enjoy these things too.
The next few months were spent writing a business plan on scraps of paper as she began collecting vintage items. She scoured online sources for “great-grandmother and grandfather” dig and estate sales and traveled throughout the Midwest whenever it suited her schedule.
She said there was a continuous conversation in her head asking, “How can I make this work?”
It all started to come together as she uncovered hundreds of treasures. Each was carefully cleaned and set aside while she collected inventory.
“My family has been very forgiving and supportive. For a while it was overwhelming, I had boxes of things and racks of clothes. I had bins and shelves in the home office and basement and in an extra room where I completely took over the spaces,” Kelly said.
After:Green Bay couple transform trauma and pandemic layoff into Luveeny, an urban streetwear brand
After:The family plays an important role in the business success of Misty Ridge Orchard in Oneida
Its treasures include vintage clothing from the 1920s and 1930s – high quality and different from those produced today. She bought woolen skirts (a personal favourite), woolen sweaters with wooden buttons, glassware, quilts, lanterns, plant stands, pots and vintage cups and mugs.
Between trips to buy inventory, with the help of her husband, Alonzo, who also owns a business, she completed the legal requirements and put a plan in place. She planned exhibits, decided on the location at 163 N. Broadway, and chose a name.
“I wanted a name that people would gravitate towards,” Kelly said. “Cockloft is an Old English term meaning attic or attic on the roof. My logo has a farm because that’s what vintage reminds me of; when I was at my grandmother’s farm and we were dressing up and pretending, and wearing the clothes that were in the attic.
When visiting her shop, customers will find that she still loves the clothes she sells and favors vintage fashion. With every piece there is a story to be told and she often searches for the story so it can be shared. Now open for five months, as people discover the store, its challenge is to achieve balance.
Quick to point out that as a mother of three her family comes first, she is now forced to work in the store four days a week and also find time to go out to shop for excursions. Its roles are universal.
She said: ‘I am the owner, employee, shipping service, buyer and cleaner of the goods. I tag the articles and market them. I’m the bank, books and customer service.
But, as the store has found its place in the neighborhood and is quickly taking off, Kelly is trying to find time to work on social media and other marketing. Its target market is difficult to define.
“I don’t have a particular client. There are high school kids who want to wear the old cardigan or sweater, middle-aged people who appreciate the quality of the piece, and older people of this generation who want something they can’t find anywhere else anymore,” he said. she declared.
A gentleman brought his eldest mother and they were delighted to find the perfect sweatshirt. As with many pieces like this, Kelly’s weakness is falling in love with the items and having a hard time letting go. She feels a connection to the goods and the store, and is glad she chose a brick-and-mortar store instead of e-commerce.
She added, “I love the old-school vibe of the store; that’s how things were.
The comments she has received are very positive and encourage her on her journey. Although she says she’s sometimes baffled at how quickly she’s gotten to this point, it’s been incredibly rewarding.
“I love it all,” Kelly said. “If I had known it was going to be so fun, I would have started it sooner. I think it’s hard for mums sometimes because owning a business seems so demanding, but I wish I had done it sooner. I wish I knew I could be successful in both.
Customers wishing to visit the store and take advantage of On Broadway events will have plenty of opportunities with a number of projects including the Broadway Lighting Ceremony on November 18, Small Business Saturday on November 26, Christkindlmarkets throughout throughout the season and winter wine. & Beer walks.
Tina Dettman-Bielefeldt is co-owner of DB Commercial Real Estate in Green Bay and former district manager of SCORE, Wisconsin.