In Newport, Vintage Furniture Warehouse is Also Unique Events Space
On Monmouth Street in Newport there exists a unique place with a vintage feel.
The Turn Vintage Warehouse is a space available to rent for weddings, showers, birthday parties, art openings, and more. It also sells and rents vintage furniture and other vintage items for a variety of purposes.
Meg Fite and Wendy Crichton are partners in the business which held its launch party in December. Critcher also owns and operates the business next door, Dresser Up, which works closely with The Turn.
“About three years ago, I was selling vintage online and at the City Flea. I was accumulating a lot of things I could curate, like tabletop things and other stuff I kept seeing a purpose for in my mind other than just selling that one item,” Fite said. “I thought about doing something a little bit different, so I thought I would love to do vintage rentals. Vintage rentals are being done a lot on both coasts but aren't doing much in the Midwest, so I thought it was a great opportunity to start it and use a lot of things I already had that were overloading my house.”
Fite said she spent a while looking for an appropriate space for her vintage items when she saw the storefront on Monmouth and explored ways to procure it.
“I had seen this building and knew it was going to be too expensive for me and probably too big, but I came down here with a real-estate agent and thought it was so cool and right away I knew exactly what I would do with it if it was my space,” she said.
Soon it did become her space and she quickly filled it with a wide variety of items from previous eras. Soon she met Critcher and the two quickly realized that they had a lot in common.
“The funny thing was that Wendy had started next door at her shop and when we started talking, we realized we knew each other because our husbands played soccer in college together. So that's how the partnership happened,” Fite explained.
The store is not a standard warehouse, but has been the right fit for both retail where there are many items for sale, but also for renting the inventory and the space itself.
“People will rent vintage furniture for weddings, showers, parties, photo shoots, it could be for a play or for one of the movies shot in town,” said Fite.
She said that because of her previous experience selling vintage furniture and tabletop items, coupled with the fact that she used to be a wedding photographer, armed her with the know-how of what brides-to-be have in mind for their big day.
“That's one of the biggest draws itself. When I wanted to start this business, I knew I could do it because I used to be a wedding photographer and was selling vintage, so I knew kind of a lot about what people desire and what can be done for a wedding or event.”
The space has a creative energy to it thanks to the collection of cool vintage stock and the building still maintains many original features, like the well-preserved hardwood floors and the ornate ceilings in the main room. Fite also said that the room has excellent acoustics for live music if the event requires any. Couples planning a wedding there can meet with Fite over coffee for a relaxed consultation where she can help them choose styles and play with ideas for their wedding.
“We know brides like to style their own wedding, and when they want to do a vintage wedding, they get really excited about finding different pieces, but it does take a long time as they always find out, so what we exist for is we know that brides love to style things and we've done the legwork for them and have done the really hard part,” she explained. “We've spent the money, we've collected the things and we've curated it so they can look and say what kind of style and color scheme they want. They can tell me what they're excited about and what they want for their wedding and I can show them what we have and if they need help, we can help them stylize things.”
Fite said she learned to appreciate vintage items thanks to her father who was an antique collector. He would challenge her and her siblings by showing them some strange antique object and asking them what it's original purpose was.
“He would teach us,” she said. “We would all look at it and touch it and make guesses about what it was.”
The Turn is also available for pop-up shops where a business can set up shop inside the space for a week, or couple of weeks, a day, whatever they need in order to see if they are a viable business in Northern Kentucky.
She said one of the reasons why she likes her inventory is because it's been time-tested and proven to be well made.
“It's been tested and it lasted this long, so it's got to be good. It doesn't fall apart and it's made with better materials and a lot of it is really great design. It's the same with this building. The building has been tested and it's still straight and standing.”
Her experience in Newport has been a breath of fresh air for her and her husband Tom.
“I really didn't know much about Newport. I knew about the Levee, but I had never been up Monmouth before like this. So when we here renovating, we would go walk up and down to see what's going on and we love Newport. It's awesome, there are so many friendly people and just the whole feel of everything and everyone we talk to, loves Newport.”
Rather than antique colonial-style pieces, Fite said that in recent years she has become more excited about mid-century design. In her opinion, one of the keys to make that era of design work is to not clutter too many objects into one setting. While she is committed to vintage material, she says the business is orchestrated to constantly change and be altered by the revolving inventory in the space and that is where the name of the business derives from.
“We wanted to show that it is always changing, so The Turn is what we came up with,” said Fite.
The Turn is preparing for an art exhibit soon as well as an upcoming 50th birthday party scheduled for February. Once the weather warms up, though, both Fite and Critcher are preparing for the wedding season.
“Summer is always big and we know that fall is huge for weddings in Cincinnati,” Fite said.
She also prides herself on the ability to work with interested individuals who are on a strict budget, like allowing people to bring their own food to events.
“A lot of event venues tell you that you have to use a certain caterer but we don't do that here,” she said. “We know what it's like, we do things on a budget, so one of the things we try to do is help people have a fantastic wedding or event that is absolutely gorgeous, totally memorable, but they're not killing themselves financially.”
Things fell nicely into place for Fite once she partnered with Critcher and realized how helpful and accommodating the City of Newport can be to new businesses.
“I'd been looking for a long time for a partner that would be just perfect and when I saw her shop and her eye for things, I said okay this is someone I can talk to that will understand me, understand what I see in things,” Fite said of Critcher. “When we get our hands on something, it tends to turn out pretty great which we're really excited about.
She said that the parking issue was relieved when city officials networked her with a nearby Catholic church that allows The Turn patrons to park in their lot for events. Fite said that they donate to the church in order to thank them for their generosity.
The Turn is still in its infancy in terms of the business, but the uniqueness of the space, the inventory and the women who operate it, make it a special resource for people interested in using its services. More information of The Turn can be found on the company's Facebook page.