New store seeks to fill local need
- Published: December 8, 2011
What Valorie Claggett finds at garage sales, estate sales and thrift stores are not high-priced antiques, she says, but rather useful and affordable items for everyday life that happen to have that retro style. So the growing collection at Modern Salvage, her new store at 138 Dayton Street, comprised of vintage tumblers, chairs, dressers, wallpaper, lamps, artwork and more, is not for admiring but for buying. And don’t call them antiques.
“I’m not focusing on things that are older,” Claggett explained, since some items may be reproductions of traditional styles.
“I’m just looking for a look, a quality and a usefulness,” she said.
That look is “modern,” Claggett said, a style popular from the 1950s to the 1970s. Simple, streamlined and minimalist designs, vibrant colors like orange, gold and brown and unique textures are what Claggett is looking for and what customers are returning to. Just take a glance through Dwell magazine or a Crate and Barrel catalogue for evidence of the popularity of modern, she said.
“There are a lot of lessons in looking back to see how things were done,” Claggett said. “It gives us perspective.”
As Claggett finds more treasures and customers scoop them up, the inventory will be constantly refreshed, she said. Currently, shoppers can pick up some luggage, vases, picture frames, clocks, bowls, mugs and more. The inventory will also change seasonally and will feature larger collections of some items. Coming soon is a show of fondue pots and accessories, followed by an offering of vintage sewing machines, patterns and fabrics. Summer might portend picnic baskets.
Claggett was inspired to open up shop after Pass it On Kids, where she did some work, closed next door. That store, Claggett said, served a need in town that she now hopes to partially fill.
“A lot of businesses rely on the transient, tourist population,” Claggett said. “I’m really looking to provide a useful product base — things you need for your house.”
The space Modern Salvage occupies, part of the former Center Stage building owned by Bob Baldwin, was most recently a shoe store and before that a sock shop. But the small, narrow space, once used as a service entrance for a Ford automobile dealership, is perfect for Claggett to design and she is already making it her own. A shiny silver foil wallpaper design from a modern collection covers the back wall and has inspired Claggett to consider carrying her own select line of wallpapers for customers to order. (Wallpaper also seems to be making a comeback, she said.)
Though this is the first shop for the Eugene, Ore. native, Claggett seems to be uniquely qualified. She has degrees in residential architecture and design and historical preservation and has nearly 25 years of experience buying and selling vintage goods. Claggett is also planning to offer some professional services out of the storefront, such as running estate or moving sales, helping villagers de-clutter and interior design consulting. Claggett will look for certain items at the request of villagers, might consider consignment and may carry architectural antiques like door knobs and locks.
Besides Claggett herself, customers will have access to another resource — her library of design books and magazines, both new and old, including many old Better Homes and Gardens editions. Customers are welcome to peruse the pages to get design ideas.
Claggett moved to town from Oakwood three-and-a-half years ago with her three children, Maxine, 19, Will, 11, and Eleanor, 4, and also works as the events coordinator at the Glen Helen Ecology Institute. Yellow Springs, she says, has a feeling a little like Eugene, but on a smaller scale.
Though some people may have the time and the eye to scout out vintage wares, for those who don’t, Modern Salvage is the place to go, Claggett said. At the store, customers know every item is clean and damage-free and that Claggett will soon be out finding a new line of modern product for them.
“I’m constantly looking,” Claggett said. “I’m never not looking.”
Modern Salvage is open from Sunday to Wednesday, noon to 4 p.m., and additionally on Saturdays through the holidays.