During the last Northern Grade, I met Zen of Greenwich Vintage and I really liked the products they offered. In fact, they only carry US made vintage goods – second hand and dead stock. Back then, they would only sell their used goods at pop up markets, but now they have their own showroom in the historic Whitney Square building in Minneapolis.
The Greenwich Vintage Showroom
Time for us to pay them a visit! When I arrived at the location, I could not see anything that indicated Greenwich Vintage, so I gave Zen – one of the 3 Greenwich Vintage members – a call. A minute later, he came up the elevator and guided me down to the basement where they have their little, unpretentious showroom. No one would ever find this place without knowing it there, and even then, you need a key to get downstairs. While this would be a nightmare for many shop owners, Zen and Mustache Mike (the second owner) love it – “it’s only for people in the know, and we want to keep it that way” they tell me. Consequently, there are no store hours, and Greenwich Vintage is by appointment only.
How It all Started
A number of years ago, Mustache Mike got into vintage clothing and he quickly developed an affinity for classic, American made goods. This grew into an obsession, and when his vintage clothes collection outgrew his second bedroom, he moved the stuff to Zen’s basement in Waconia, MN. People would compliment Mike and Zen on their clothing and ask where they could find it, so they decided to do pop up shows and markets, where they sell mostly one-of-a-kind goods.
The Greenwich Team
Greenwich Vintage Co. is a Minneapolis based second hand store for men with an array of American made vintage goods ranging from Allen Edmonds Shoes and Pendleton shirts to Brooks Brothers overcoats. Mustache Mike is a barber, a proud mustache wearer, and a vintage clothes hound. Zen – The Freshmaker – is a cobbler with Hungarian roots who takes apart old American shoes and adds vintage Pendleton shirt fabric to the uppers and a vibram rubber or a cats paw heel to the sole. The whole operation is overseen by Maximilian Miller, who makes sure the books are in order.
Pendleton Shirts & Sneakers
They have an extensive selection of vintage Pendleton flannel shirts, blankets and scarves from various decades that would awe any Pendleton fan. Pendleton is also the theme of most of their “dress shoes,” which are repurposed into a rugged luxury sneaker.
Dead Stock Shoes
They have a respectable selection of dead stock work boots à la Redwing. When I pointed out that the leather on one pair of Chippewa boots was heavily pigment dyed, Zen remarked that as with most collector’s items, the vintage (1987), the unused condition, and the rareness of the boots were what made them special.
Surprisingly, most of their clients prefer the already worn boots. Recognizing the desirability of broken in boots that had already developed a charming patina, Zen and Mike pulled many of their stock out of a barn – despite being covered in, let’s say, an unpleasant animal byproduct. Customers have eagerly snapped them up.
I spent at least an hour browsing through their vintage clothing items, which notably included vintage 1930’s pea coats, horse leather flight jackets, luggage, 1980s fishing wax jackets and shooting jackets.
I was really surprised to see the sames of so many local brands that have long disappeared. For its age, the items all seemed to be in great condition.
Most of the time, Mike or Zen can even tell you at which garage sale they snatched the garment from!
Altogether, I thought they had a great selection for anyone who is interested in the of-the-moment rugged casual style. If you are ever in the Twin Cities, make sure to schedule your appointment online or over the phone.
It is their goal to expand their business and eventually have their own mortar & brick location from where they can display their American made necessities for men and offer barber services. Zen’s dreams of a red English-style telephone booth, where the customer has to dial a special number to open a door that grants access to the Greenwich Vintage store. Maybe it becomes reality one day…Greenwich Vintage Co.
210 2nd Street, Minneapolis, MN