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The Scene was our Illinois arts & culture podcast through 2017. Rachel Otwell curated the podcast which provided full-length stories and follow-ups, links to other reports, and conversations with you.This podcast contained a range of stories from the world of arts & culture, from visual art to Springfield's DIY music scene, to profiles of interesting local characters. The podcast was about what makes artists tick, and the diverse culture that exists within our community.

A Trip To An Eclectic Shop: 'Vintage Pop'

Springfield is home to a variety of antique markets, book and record shops, and boutiques. l would like to introduce you to a few over on a corner of Governor St. off of MacArthur Blvd. that have popped up in the past couple years. 

Take a listen, and click herefor info about an event on Saturday that's raising money for the Prairie Center Against Sexual Assault and will combine vintage fashion with a good cause:

Linda Renehan grew up in a suburb north of Chicago. She says she's been interested in fashion and vintage goods ever since she was young: “My father was the garbage truck driver, so I lived with re-cycled, re-purposed, re-used (things) my entire life. I’ve always been drawn to it." Renehan spent many years as a personal trainer and gymnastics coach. Now, she says she’s happy to be doing the vintage boutique work full time. She, along with business partner Melba LeMay, runsVintage POP at 1135 W. Governor St. “Vintage-inspired is the trend right now ... so I was like, let’s bring the real thing to town," she says. Together Linda and Melba travel central Illinois flea markets, antique malls, and garage sales, always looking to curate their collection for the store. They aim for pieces from the late 40s to the early 80s. Everything from lamps, to books, to paintings, china, and lots of clothes.

"We want things that are different ... Weird is good." - Linda Renehan

Linda is not alone here in her mission to bring more vintage and retro style goods to the people of Springfield and the surrounding area. Next door is a shop called Resource Gallery selling goods that are more utilitarian than decorative - like lamps, stools, and tables. Everything seems to have a re-purposed and unique twist. Greg Pierceall - from Indiana, West Lafayette runs this shop. He comes to town once a week to see his grandkids and open it up for the day. Pierceall is a professor and teaches landscape architecture at Purdue. He describes the vibe of his shop as "material-based." Greg says he’s found success here in town, though he certainly draws a niche group of customers: “I've found that the shops here attract that unique individual who sees things differently ... I think that’s what an artistic eye is.” At the end of the triplex is yet another storefront called Home + Garden, which both Greg and Linda have goods in.

Credit Rachel Otwell
My most recent picks from the Pop - a handmade rock paperweight and a bust of a cool chick

Charlie Stratton was certainly drawn in by these stores. He lives in the neighborhood and was Greg’s very first customer. He says not only has it made shopping close to home more fun, having them here has done good for the community: "(The) shops are such great neighbors and a good part of the community - that really helps seal it for me ... It's great having them here." Those who have been lucky enough to discover this corner of Springfield will likely agree - because every town needs a little bit of a "vintage pop."


Rachel Otwell of the Illinois Times is a former NPR Illinois reporter.
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