Mass Vintage: snapbacks, VHS tapes, vintage tees, sports gear, and more
You enter the store and the first thing you see is a small box television and dozens of VHS tapes of classic movies that only someone born before 2004 would easily recognize.
Take a quick right and you’ll find the front desk and checkout area, with a handmade, wood exterior, constructed by the owner’s dad. The owner, Dan Williams, a 2016 graduate of the University of Massachusetts, has a degree in animal studies and started the business in 2013 while still a student, despite not having a background in business.
Maddison Dyment was the first employee of Dan’s brainchild.
“In September of 2017 he hired me full-time,” he said. “I was his first employee, and we were just solely doing online [sales]. But it quickly took over our apartment in Dover, and we were living in boxes of clothes.”
Dyment, who started as the first employee, eventually became not just the co-owner, but also Williams’ fiancée. Dan proposed to Maddison on September 7, the day the store in Amherst opened.
Over time, it became clear to the duo that they “wanted to have a place that was nicely organized for people to shop, rather than just doing it all online.”
There are clearly defined sections in the store, whether it be the plethora of hats, the L.L. Bean apparel, jackets, jerseys, or iconic vintage T-shirts. The gear is color coordinated and arranged by size.
In addition to the peak organization of the store, the contents are pretty cool as well, all of which the owners are fans of. “It’s a manifestation of our own style; we’re pretty happy about that,” said Dyment.
Something the duo is specifically excited about is the hat selection they have to offer. In a section of its own, a wall of flat brim snapback vintage style hats are all racked and sorted in various ways. “That whole area is Dan’s brainchild and he’s really happy with it,” said Dyment.
There is also an extensive collection of hats online. “I can confidently say that Dan is one of the top hat sellers in the country,” said Dyment.
The hat sentiment certainly does not come as a surprise to some, including J.B. Mills, a senior at ARHS.
“It wouldn’t surprise me at all if they had one of the largest hat selections in the world,” said Mills. “It’s a really cool store. I’ve been a few times and I liked it.”
In addition to their wide selection of apparel, the customer service is unparalleled. “It’s not like every other store where there’s someone following you around the whole time seeing if you’re gonna buy something,” said Makara Le, a senior at Amherst High. “They really allow you to go in and see what you want to see which I appreciated.”
Mills added that he, too, felt at home shopping there. “They greeted me when I went into the store and they answered all the questions I had. [They are] very friendly people.”
Finding merchandise involves full-time help. “For the first few years Dan and I handpicked everything,” said Dyment, “But now, with less time on our hands, we have a few wholesalers and their job is to go thrifting.” They then offer these items for resale.
According to Dyment, these wholesalers sell the MassVintage crew between 100 and 150 items at a time.In addition to these wholesalers, according to Dyment, “we’re actually buy-sell-trade.” This means anyone can “come in and bring something in and if it’s vintage or fits our vibe, we’ll take it.”
MassVintage is unique in that there are very few other stores like in it Western Massachusetts.
They are also thriving in this college town. “We love it out here, we have a really good customer base,” said Dyment.
Mass Vintage currently has a “one-year lease, but we’re really lucky to be here.”
The Dyment-Williams duo would love to stay in Amherst as long as they can. “We love it here, we love the crowds,” they said. “We love the earthy crunchy vibe, and we love our customers.”