Vintage Interview: Room Service, Austin, TX

First stop on the road trip, Austin Texas, my favorite city in the Lone Star State. I had the pleasure of living here for a while back when I was a visual merchandiser for Urban Outfitters.  Back in our high school years, my friends and I would skip school in San Antonio, drive an hour North, and go vintage shopping on “The Drag”.  Some of the vintage stores I use to frequent are gone now but,  every time I return for a visit there are new stores.   Old neighborhoods are rapidly updating and now thriving with bars, coffee houses, music venus and condos.  Vintage has exploded all over this big little city. Here’s the first of many interviews I will be conducting in the capital of “Keep it Weird”.

INTERVIEW:  Room Service                                                                              107 E.  North Loop Blvd, Austin, TX 78751                                                            (512) 451-1057                                           Hours:    Daily 11am – 7 pm     Owner:  LuCretia     Managers:  Bill & Lori

What they specialize in:  Mid Century to 1970s furniture and collectables, vintage clothing from 50s to 90s.  
I purchased my own personal furniture from Room Service when I moved to Miami 7 years ago.  People from all over the country come to Room Service to get extremely affordable antique furniture and then sell it for 10 times as much in California, Miami, and New York!  Here, I interview Bill, who is not only the manager alongside his wife Lori, but he’s also been a vendor since 99′.  room1
RNR:  So, are you the proprietor here?
RS:  LuCretia is actually the owner.  My wife and I manage the store.  I help style LuCretia’s booth.  
RNR:  Oh so, this is a multi-vendor store?
RS:  Yes, there are  seven of us here.  It’s our full-time jobs, none of us have other jobs. It’s what we do 24/7.  Any vacation we take is a buying trip.
RNR:  How long have you been at Room Service?
RS:  I’ve been here since 1999.  The stores been here since 1981 and was sold to LuCretia who started as a vendor.
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RNR:  Can you tell me about your buying trips.  
RS:  We go up to Minnesota twice a year.  We fly up there, rent a truck and drive all the stuff back.  
RNR:  Do you guys like being on the road?  
RS:  No, actually we hate being on the road.  Obviously, shopping is the most fun part of it but, it can be treacherous sometimes.  We’ve been up there through snowstorms and tornadoes. 
IMG_5653RNR:  Do you have a giant storage?
RS:  We have our two car garage as our storage.  
RNR:  Do you shop only when your space needs to be replenished?  
RS:  Everyone has their own style of shopping.  Like LuCretia, she had a special garage built for her merchandise and she had another side building for her storage.  She’s been in the business so long that she has pickers who bring her stuff and people call her and say “Hey I have a house full of stuff…”  so, she gets first dibs on a lot of stuff.  She’s a fixture in the second-hand business.IMG_5667 IMG_5673 IMG_5675 IMG_5690
RNR:  How do you keep your prices so low?  
RS:  We have to get it really cheap.  Our standard is we buy it at a third of what we sell it at because we have to pay rent and pay the owner commission.  It’s always a gamble because we have to hope the right customer comes in and likes that piece.  If something is not selling, then we try to put it in a different set up.  
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IMG_5678RNR:  Will you all ever think about opening another location?  
RS:  No, we are super successful right here, we are putting all our eggs in one basket.  We now have a presence online with a website, Instagram, and Facebook.  The website is always updated with new photos.  The merchandise moves really fast in here too! 
RNR:  Thanks for the interview Bill!
Don’t miss out on their monthly specials!  To keep up with special sales and events at Room Service in Austin, subscribe to their Facebook page  for the updates!  

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