Top Shelf Vintage fills old Elks space in downtown Pawtucket

Top Shelf Vintage fills old Elks space in downtown Pawtucket

Annie Schisler and Douglas Valeri have opened Top Shelf Vintage, a store full of quality vintage products, at 27 Exchange St. in downtown Pawtucket. (Breeze photo by Ethan Shorey)

PAWTUCKET – Opening Top Shelf Vintage at 27 Exchange St. is the next logical step for vintage enthusiasts Annie Schisler and Douglas Valeri, two downtown residents who say they're committed to being part of the city's renaissance.

Schisler and Valeri, who live in a loft apartment at 125 Goff Ave., say being a downtown business owner is all about supporting others in the area. They've enjoyed a number of visits to the nearby Guild brewery during their eight years selling vintage items as an online business.

The two said they've been looking for a physical space for some time, and love how the interior of their new store came out. The store opened two weeks ago, and the owners' flair for color was immediately evident.

Top Shelf offers mostly men's and women's vintage clothing, as well as some knick-knacks, furniture, décor and art.

The former Elks building has been empty for far too long, said the two entrepreneurs. The 1926 structure has all kinds of character, they said.

Schisler collects items at various sales for women and children, while Valeri does the same for men's items. The two say they've become quite proficient at the business and are using the new shop as their home office.

Here you're just as likely to find a Scottie Pippen t-shirt as you are to uncover an old camera.

When the building was previously in use, it held commercial tenants on the first floor and Elks activities on the upper floors. It is located a few doors down from the Beswick building, which is being renovated by a group of local developers.

Valeri said he and Schisler have been in Pawtucket for some time, working for various local companies, and have a great understanding of the city's people and places. They said they love this city and are committed to seeing it succeed, despite some disappointments on the business front in recent months. Both said they're excited about what new breweries have done for the city and about the impact of a coming train station up the road and near their home.

Schisler said Valeri is a “great digger,” finding all sorts of great items all over the region. Both said they're excited about the ongoing resurgence in interest around vintage items, saying people old and young are looking for unique items that make a statement and are different from what everyone else is wearing. The chances of someone else showing up at the same party with an item purchased here are slim to none, they said. These aren't items you can just buy at the mall.

Nostalgia and memories also play a huge role in the shopping experience, they said.

The owners said they live their business, emphasizing that it's part of their lifestyle. Here someone can touch, feel and try something on, they said, and the older items are just made better, so how it fits now will remain unchanged after going through the washing machine.

A table of $10 vintage t-shirts is one of the areas of the store meant to let customers know that there are affordable finds. There's everything from $5 items to $100 items here, they said.

Parking is available on the street behind the store.

The City Council approved a secondhand shop license for Top Shelf Vintage on Jan. 23.

For more on Top Shelf Vintage, or for around-the-clock purchases, visit www.topshelfvintageco.com or www.closetconsignment.etsy.com .