FRANKLIN — A Volkswagen bus from the sixties painted in tie dye sits in front of one very cool store. It's called Woodstock Vibes, and as the name suggests, the atmosphere carries through its doors and countless racks of one-of-a-kind, hard-to-find, quality, name-brand vintage clothing, shoes and accessories.
Prices are great, staff is friendly and the treasures you'll find are truly amazing. Customers are flocking to the store from all over the region.
About three years ago, Kurt De Pourcg was trying to create additional income for his business, Shepitex, L.L.C."We were exporting one hundred percent of our production and getting killed by the increasingly stronger U.S. dollar," he said, "The idea was to sell the better items domestically so we would be less dependent on the dollar."
And so, a family-run wholesale vintage and hipster store located in Shepitex LLC's warehouse in Franklin was born. Woodstock Vibes features hand selected products available in stock including shoes, purses and jewelry. The business has been so successful, that it recently moved to a store with a 3,000-foot mezzanine area, in Franklin, filled with all kinds of treasures.
"My wife and my son's fiancee came up with the name," De Pourcg said. "They wanted a name associated with the 60s because we were strictly selling vintage and hipster clothing and they wanted to create a warm, welcoming vibe in the store. Thus Woodstock Vibes."
The store's vintage and hipster pieces are sorted into over 80 different categories and subcategories.
"We are not affiliated with any retail stores," De Pourcg said, "Our vintage comes directly from our own credential clothing. We purchase our clothing from different regions, thus providing us with a mix of goods that feature a wide array of styles from various eras in fashion."
The fledgling Woodstock Vibes on Park Place was very small with limited items.
"It was just a try out to see how people would react," De Pourcg said. "First we got the friends from my son's fiancee, then came the mothers who wanted more fashionable items. We slowly expanded till we reached 2,500 sq/ft. We also had limited opening hours, just Friday and Saturday. Our customers loved the quality and the atmosphere and were pushing for more opening hours and more items."
In February 2015, they decided to find a store location.
"There's limited availability close to our warehouse location," said De Pourcg. "We wanted something closely and on a busy road. We were intrigued by the old Masonic building on Route 94, the location of Sussex County Discount Wine and Liquor. Even though the building looked dull and boring, we realized it had great potential once gutted out and properly restored.
Woodstock Vibes processes about 70,000 pieces of used clothing and 30,000 pairs of used shoes every single week.
"My wife selects the items based on trends, styles, unique look and quality," De Pourcg said. "We use only the best 2 percent of the 100,000 items we process every week. Compare that to 8 percent for a regular good quality thrift store or 30 percent for a typical Salvation Army or Goodwill store. Each item is basically handpicked."
The mezzanine is used to process and sort the selected items for the current season. Items are categorized and whenever there's a shortage of a certain item in the store, the owners go upstairs and pick from the seasonal inventory. The non-seasonal items (spring and summer) are categorized, folded and placed in strong, ventilated bags to be placed in storage for the upcoming season. De Pourcg said,
"We have an estimated 50,000 items in inventory, ready to get priced and brought to the store when needed," De Pourcg said. "We have a color code for the tags we use to price the items. Everything is computerized so we know how long an item sits in the store."
Some of Woodstock Vibes' more unique sub-categories include: vintage band T shirts, knitted sweaters, colorful ponchos and dresses, and tons of vintage flannel shirts. De Pourcg said,
"There's something unique for each customer, sized from XS to XXL."
Creating the Woodstock Vibes atmosphere was a fun task.
"We found the bus under a tree in the backyard of one of my neighbors in Wantage where we live," DePourg said. "The young couple we bought it from lived in it for two ears and traveled all over the USA. They decided to spray paint the bus in the current color scheme during one of their trips. You have to admit, they did a fantastic job and it can't look more hippy and sixties then the way they did it. It took me two months to clean it out and to make it look presentable.I promised the previous owners never to sell it without offering it to them first."
Woodstock Vibes has changed the De Pourcg family.
"We personally used to shop at the mall to purchase clothing and shoes," the owner said. "To us, it was disturbing to see how disorganized some of the stores are, lots of associates are under paid and not motivated. Prices are very high and the choice is limited. We try hard to create a store where it's just the opposite."