Tuesday, January 24, 2012

New vintage shop pays tribute to the performing arts

The musical career of Judith Beverly-Craycraft (J.B. to those who know her) took her many places. But along the way, as she played principal viola in Richmond's symphony and played in Broadway productions, she accumulated a lot of cool, vintage clothes and accessories.

"When we moved from Richmond to Charlotte in the summer of 2000, we moved with like a dozen wardrobe boxes full of costumes and vintage clothing I'd been collecting for years," said J.B. "It had to go somewhere."

Many of those goods - an eclectic mix of 1950s prom dresses, Vietnam-era officers' military uniforms, Victorian-era "mustache cups" (specially designed cups for men with handlebar mustaches), antique straight razors and cigarette cases, 1920s flapper dresses, top hats, jewelry - are on sale now at J.B.'s new store, Backstage, at 2005 Central Ave.

"It's kind of a tribute to all performing arts - music, theater, dance," she said.

J.B. started selling some of her wares at A Hidden Treasure, a store in Monroe selling collectibles and antiques. Her music room and garage were still full of stuff, however. When she started playing with the Asheville Symphony about 3 1/2 years ago, her husband had a suggestion. "You go to Asheville two or three times a month, load up the car and get some of this stuff out of here," he told her.

So J.B. started selling wholesale to vintage shops in Asheville, and eventually met a shop owner and became her business partner. The store was doing well, J.B. said, until the owner sold the building to a developer and asked the tenants to leave in 30 days.

"I was very upset, needless to say," said J.B. But driving on Central Avenue the day after Thanksgiving, she saw a for lease sign in a storefront, and decided to take a plunge. "I called that number, and that very day he let us move right in," said J.B. She spent time redoing the floors, repainting the concrete outside and sprucing up the shop, and had Backstage's grand opening on New Year's day.

In addition to running the shop, J.B. is a "regular extra" in four orchestras, including the Charlotte Symphony. She loves music, but the schedule of a full-time performer - rehearsals daily at 10 a.m. and 7:30 p.m., loading up the bus at 7 a.m. and driving to performances all the time -  got to be taxing, J.B. said. Now, she plays in big symphony productions and fills in for musicians who call in sick.

Backstage is open Wednesday through Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 5 or 6ish ("If somebody's in there, we won't kick them out," she said).

View Larger Map


Anonymous said...

We were out walking the neigbhorhood on New Years Day and happened to notice the shop open so I stopped in with my wife and daughter. What cool stuff they had! The owners and their daughter were all so nice too. We'll definitely be going back.