How Sweet It Was
419 N. 4th Ave., Tucson, AZ 85705 (520) 623-9854
Hours: M-TH: 10:30 am – 6pm F-Sat: 10:30 am – 8pm Sun: 12pm – 6pm
As you read in my last post, my misfortunes brought me to fortune in Tucson when I discovered the vintage shop, How Sweet It Was, across the street from the produce market I was eating at. Of course, as soon as I decided I would stop in for a hopeful interview, it started to, not rain, but pour (Of course).I ran across the street and into the umbrella of a huge vintage shop that was playing charming Billy Holiday music. Vintage clothes from all eras lined round-racks and as far as up the red flocked walls. They had an impressive collection of men’s as well as women’s which most stores don’t cater to. They also have a vintage bridal section and costume rental area.
They say timing is everything in life and I am posting this interview just at the right time! Starting this past Sunday, previous shop manager and twelve-year veteran of HSIW, Crissy Burgstaler, is the new proprietor and I’m honored to be the first to tell the world. The shop is formerly owned by Connie Lauth for the last 40 years. Crissy and her newly promoted shop manager, Kaylee Ducote, are a perfect match to not only keep this Tucson vintage staple running smoothly but are excited and ready to take it to new heights.
RNR: Are you two ladies partners?
Crissy: The founder, Connie opened the shop in 1974 and she’s actually getting ready to retire in September, so I am buying into it.
RNR: Wow! Talk about timing. How long have you been an employee here?
Crissy: Twelve years!
RNR: Who does all your buying?
Crissy: Everyone is kind of a buyer here.
RNR: Do you get to go on buying road trips or do you guys buy locally?
Crissy: No, I don’t really do that because I have to spend so much time in the shop but it’s something I definitely want to do when the transition happens.
RNR: So is this all her merchandise you will be inheriting with the shop?
Crissy: Mostly we buy from customers every day. We get a lot of stuff pushing through the door.
RNR: What kind of clientele comes through here?
Crissy: I mean it’s across the board, vintage lover’s, bands, the customer we were just talking to, she comes a couple of times a year and we also get dealers from New York that come buy for their shops, even down to kids who come in to shop for school plays and need era sensitive clothes.
RNR: What were your interests before vintage? Did you go to college and study fashion?
Crissy: I didn’t study fashion. I studied anthropology. I wish I would have studied business. Before vintage my main interests were music and thrifting. In a way I’ve always been into vintage I just didn’t know to call it that. I was just wearing wacky thrift store stuff in attempt to be different. Now I get real pleasure from learning the history of these special items. Seeing the past as its encoded in garments and jewelry. It’s fascinating and there’s always more to learn. I love that!
RNR (To Kaylee): When did you come into the shop?
Kaylee: It was just my little job I had when I was in college and when I finished school I was like, Oh I guess I’ll get more hours here… I just really wanted to work here and been in love ever since!
(Crissy) Kaylee’s worked here five years, part-time and then once we do the buyout then she’ll be the main heavy-time manager in the shop. The people who work here have worked here forever.
(keely) Yeah, I’m still the “newbie” (giggles).
RNR: Are you friends with all the other vintage store owners in town?
Crissy: Yeah, we all know each other and everyone’s friendly and totally communicative. It really is nice on the avenue to have our network. We even have a “phone tree”, like if somebody shoplifts, we’re all really good at keeping in touch and describing them to the other stores.
RNR: Has the store always looked like this? If so, are you going to do any remodeling when the current owner retires?
Crissy: The store has always looked like this. I just now kind of started moving stuff a little bit and thinning it out.
Kaylee: If you can believe it, it’s paired down a lot.
Crissy: So, yeah, come September we are definitely going to paint and all that stuff.
RNR: Will you have a “grand re-opening” party?
Crissy: I’m not sure, I guess we should.
RNR: Call it a renovation party! Make all your friends come and help.
Crissy: Free beer party!
RNR: I’ll be there.
Crissy: Yeah, so it’s a really exciting time in the shop right now!
How Sweet It Was will be having a 20% off sale the first week of September to clear inventory for fall merchandise. And keep an eye out in December because they will be celebrating their 40th anniversary party!