Beg­gar’s Ban­quet brings vin­tage finds to Roxbor­ough

The Review - - Front Page - ByA­manda Gal­lagher For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

ROXBOR­OUGH » A charm­ing vin­tage shop has resided on Ridge Av­enue in Roxbor­ough since it opened last year, but its owner, MandyKravetz, has been a pas­sion­ate­mer­chant of all things retro for a lot longer.

Beg­gar’s Ban­quet, named for the Rolling Stones al­bu­mof the same ti­tle, is a lo­cal busi­ness that sells pri­mar­ily women’s cloth­ing and ac­ces­sories.

Kravetz is a life­long lover of all things vin­tage who started out sell­ing vin­tage dishes online back in 2011. At the time, she was liv­ing in Phoenix and her chil­dren were start­ing high school, which al­lowed her some free time to de­vote to her pas­sion. Af­ter her chil­dren went off to col­lege, she made the de­ci­sion to re­lo­cate to Philadel­phia.

“I didn’t know what it was like to be an empty nester. I had all this time on my hands,” Kravetz said.

She had by then moved away from­selling dish­ware and had shifted her fo­cus to sell­ing cloth­ing. She even­tu­ally de­cided to open a brickand-mor­tar store and set­tled on Roxbor­ough for the lo­ca­tion.

“Roxbor­ough’s so great— it’s still in the city, but it has a neigh­bor­hood feel, more so than any other com­mu­nity,” Kravetz said.

The store it­self is tidy, bright and col­or­ful and filled with eclec­tic, retro dé­cor. Cus­tomers can find every­thing from tops and dresses to out­er­wear, sleep­wear and hand­bags. While the store mostly car­ries women’s cloth­ing, about one-third of the store is men’s cloth­ing. Cus­tomers can also find a small sec­tion of home-re­lated prod­ucts, in­clud­ing dish­ware, such as vin­tage Pyrex.

Kravetz said she is par­tic­u­lar about the items she car­ries in her store, and she strives to cu­rate a col­lec­tion of high-qual­ity items in ex­cel­lent con­di­tion. She has learned from ex­pe­ri­ence what to look for in vin­tage cloth­ing. She con­sid­ers both the age and qual­ity of items when de­cid­ing what to sell. She searches for well-made cloth­ing, typ­i­cally from the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, and pays spe­cial at­ten­tion to the con­struc­tion, fab­ric and pat­terns. When she finds a great item, she en­joys clean­ing and re­pair­ing it. Kravetz es­ti­mates that she re­pairs about 20 per­cent of the items she sells.

“It’s a la­bor of love,” Kravetz said, adding, “The peo­ple who work here are like fam­ily.”

She runs the store with the help of three em­ploy­ees. She stressed that Beg­gar’s Ban­quet is not about high­pres­sure sales tech­niques. She and her em­ploy­ees do not like to push peo­ple into buy­ing items. They pre­fer to be hon­est in help­ing cus­tomers find cloth­ing that re­ally works for them.

“We’re about some­one look­ing great,” Kravetz said, “[and] get­ting some­thing awe­some at an awe­some price.”

She said there are many rea­sons to con­sider buy­ing vin­tage. The qual­ity of cloth­ing from pre­vi­ous eras is gen­er­ally much bet­ter than what is avail­able to­day. Not only that, re­cy­cling cloth­ing is bet­ter for the environment than buy­ing new. Plus, it can be much more af­ford­able.

She re­called a time when she sold a vin­tage de­signer dress for $30. The woman who pur­chased the blue gown planned to wear it for her wed­ding.

“It was in bet­ter con­di­tion than any­thing you can buy new,” she said.

The­ma­jor­ity of the cloth­ing sold in Beg­gar’s Ban­quet was made in the United States, as most cloth­ing sold in the U.S. through the 1960s was man­u­fac­tured in the U.S. Kravetz said she aims to carry shoes that were made in Italy, Spain and Brazil.

In the year since the store opened, the com­mu­nity re­sponse has been pos­i­tive. Beg­gar’s Ban­quet has a lot of re­peat cus­tomers and vin­tage-lov­ing reg­u­lars, says Kravetz.

Be­yond that, the store was re­cently in­ter­viewed by stu­dents at The Whar­ton School as part of the busi­ness school’s Whar­ton Un­der­grad Con­sult­ing Club.

She wel­comes the pos­si­bil­ity to re­ceive ad­vice.

“My ex­per­tise is in find­ing and cu­rat­ing vin­tage cloth­ing,” she said, adding she is not nec­es­sar­ily an ex­pert in run­ning a busi­ness. She be­lieves it’s im­por­tant to lis­ten and take ad­vice from oth­ers in or­der to suc­ceed.

Kravetz will find out next month if the store will be se­lected by the pro­gram to be stud­ied and as­sessed by stu­dents.

Kravetz rec­om­mends cus­tomers fol­low the store on In­sta­gram at beg­gars­ban­quet_v­in­tage. A lot of the mer­chan­dise is fea­tured on the ac­count, with size and price in­for­ma­tion, and the store oc­ca­sion­ally sells prod­ucts to cus­tomers shop­ping via In­sta­gram.

RICK CAWLEY — FOR DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Retro ta­ble set­tings and other items are on dis­play at Beg­gar’s Bou­tique Vin­tage in Roxbor­ough.

RICK CAWLEY — FOR DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Owner Mandy Kravetz works the sales desk at Beg­gar’s Bou­tique Vin­tage in Roxbor­ough.

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