New vintage shop, doubly ‘lovely’

On a calm Friday morning, the day after Jingle and Mingle on Main, a steady flow of customers moseyed in and out of a new shop on Main Street, Cedar Falls. A festive, vintage aluminum Christmas tree sparkled in the middle of the shop surrounded by whimsical fifties decor. Miss Wonderful, a treasure trove of vintage items, is a dream brought to life by former owner of Cup of Joe, Ann Eastman.

For years, Eastman has been dreaming of opening a shop such as this one. “I just want to provide a place where people feel like vintage is accessible, so they can come in, they can spend a dollar in here and walk away with something vintage and have a good time coming in. From that experience, to buying an investment piece like a Haywood-Wakefield dining room table and chairs,” Eastman said.

Shoppers don’t have to be looking for furniture to participate in the vintage shopping experience at Miss Wonderful. “You can have the experience of spending $5, or you could buy a whole new kitchen set for $1,500, and no matter what your income level, you can come in and just experience it and walk away with something,” Eastman said.

Instead of buying new this Holiday season, Miss Wonderful allows shoppers to find something unique and fun to give to others or keep for themselves. “It’s just an alternative to buying new, and the mid-century modern era was so colorful, playful, whimsical. I love that they weren’t afraid to have fun. Also, I love it that people younger than me can see what a fun and playful era that was.”

Eastman’s inspiration for Miss Wonderful comes from her love for vintage collecting sparked by her grandmother. “My Grandma is the one that got me thrifting, and she would let me go in her basement. She wouldn’t have called it thrifting, but she would let me go in her basement and say, ‘Take what you want,’ and that was my first introduction to 1950s,” Eastman said.

For Eastman, finding old treasures in her grandmother’s basement helped ultimately create the name of her store. “She ignited the passion for thrifting for me. After she passed away, my mom said, go upstairs and see if there’s anything you want, and I found her shoebox. I’m sure she saved it for practical reasons, not because of the name, but it just made me smile. It just cracked me up that there was a shoe company called Miss Wonderful.”

The name, “Miss Wonderful” isn’t the only thing inspired by Eastman’s grandmother. “An interesting side note is her maiden name is Lovely, Ruth Lovely, so our little tagline is ‘Vintage is lovely,’ so it’s kind of an ode to my grandma,” Eastman said.

Eastman has several goals for her new shop, among these goals is her desire to keep her store changing and interesting for her customers. Every few days, Miss Wonderful has something new to offer to shoppers and vintage lovers. “I want it to always be in flux, always changing, always be fresh for people,” Eastman said.

In addition to being accessible and fresh, going green is also an important theme for Eastman in her store. “I think what’s neat about it is a lot of people are going green and trying to be environmentally responsible, and what’s neat about vintage is what you’re doing is you’re reusing and repurposing something. So you’re not buying new, you’re buying something that’s existed for 50 years,” Eastman said.

Eastman found several ways to make her store more environmentally friendly. “The bags are 100 percent recyclable. We are wireless here with our receipts. We’re also switching the lights over to be energy efficient,” Eastman said.

While the store is still young, already, it’s clear that the reception from shoppers is outstanding. Even in the middle of the day during the week, customers come in, ask questions, see what’s new and make purchases. The positive reaction from the community to vintage shows a lot of promise for the growing and ever changing store.

“We’re just pleasantly surprised that people are loving it. I went into it thinking we’ll just see how it goes, and we’ll just go with the flow,” Eastman said. “I am so pleasantly surprised that people are buying vintage furniture and all of the knick knacks. I thought I would have to bring in more new items, and maybe do 50/50, some vintage, some new. But no, the reception to vintage has just been phenomenal.”

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