What goes around comes around. The motivating factor for Antonio Rainey and Lamarr Holt when they opened their store, Vintage Collectible Retro, was to bring back ’80s and ’90s style.
“I have always been into urban streetwear,” Rainey says. “I grew up a ’90s kid, so it is what I know and love.”
The pair have known each other for about 15 years, since their high school days at Rock Bridge, and are as close as family, they say. Both have a passion for vintage-style clothing. They opened VCR in August 2019. Walk in their store, located on Nebraska Avenue, and you’ll notice vintage sports tees, throwback jerseys, designer brands and bright sneakers. You can also browse their newest styles on Facebook.
An idea for a vintage, retro-style clothing store came about after realizing a true passion for the clothing business.
“I was working in sales and really had to evaluate everything because I was not as happy as I could have been,” Rainey says. “I realized I wanted to do what I love, and we both have a passion for the industry and hype clothing.”
Rainey and Holt add a little extra style by customizing items. Distressed jeans, dyed shirts and the store’s specialty: one-of-a-kind sneakers, from toddler-size to adult. A white Nike Airmax canvas becomes a wavy teal-and-gold sneaker, or a pair of Air Force 1’s gets a Dragon Ball Z-themed facelift, for example. Customers can bring in a pair or purchase them at the store to be made-to-order at the shop.
“Art was really something I was interested in, and I love working with people’s ideas,” Rainey says. “The ’80s and ’90s were about individuality, so that is something we want to provide.”
Sometimes, VCR has giveaways on Facebook. In March, there was a photo contest. Take a photo in your Air Maxes, and you might win a custom pair. The “flyest pair” or “most creative picture” winners got free custom work on any pair of Air Maxes.
Both owners have an eye for detail and respect for creativity. Every vintage-name-brand item in the store is inspected and authenticated by Rainey or Holt, and both often fly to Los Angeles to find new items to sell, as well as searching online. In their own shop, they’re willing to negotiate prices and trades.
“One of the reasons why we hand pick our items is because we wanted to bring something unique to Columbia, something it didn’t already have,” Rainey says.
Aside from providing residents with a new style of clothing and taste of vintage culture, the two are trying to make a bigger impact on the community.
At the store’s grand opening, they handed out over 70 free backpacks stuffed with school supplies to kids in the community in addition to offering free food, games and face painting at the event.
“We’ll probably do an annual school supply giveaway,” Rainey says. “I remember growing up and going to school supply giveways. Growing up, me and my brother [Holt] didn’t really have much. It’s all about paying it forward.”