'It's a whole other world': St. Michaels thrift shop looks to treat customers to an out-of-this-world experience
ST MICHAELS, Wis. (CBS 58) -- In rural Washington County, just off of Highway 28 in the small, unincorporated town of St. Michaels, cousins Chris Ford and Quinn Laidler are looking to take customers on an out-of-this-world experience at 2nd Planet Vintage.
"We buy and sell junk," Ford said. "I'm just kidding. We sell vintage clothing, vinyl records; old advertising."
From vintage clothing and old records to arcade games and antique advertising signs, 2nd Planet Vintage is sure to have something for everyone. In fact, it's a literal adventure around every corner of the 4,000-square-foot shop.
"Just about anything and everything," Laidler said. "Cassette tapes, thermoses, collectible toys, clothing, signs, music in all forms. I'm still waiting for a few people that are exactly on my wavelength, that's probably why the laser tag helmet is still here, and some of the Transformers."
After a venture in the live bait wholesale industry wasn't working out for Ford, he was looking for an alternative line of business. He saw an opportunity with his cousin, a vintage clothes collector.
"Quinn was hardcore just collecting for his own collecting and then, to support his collecting, selling a few on the side here and there on eBay," Ford explained. "I went 'ding, ding, ding, these are some really good margins!'. Way better than the live fishing bait!"
On October 9, 2021, the two cousins turned their passion for thrifting into a family-run business, opening the doors of 2nd Planet Vintage to the world.
"It's been kind of like Field of Dreams. If you build it, they will come, and they've been coming in droves and thanking us," Ford said. "Since we have such a large inventory, as opposed to most other vintage stores, they come and shop us for inventory at their stores. There's three to four Madison shops that shop us quite regularly. Madison's been the most regular. Then there is about four Milwaukee shops that come and shop us periodically."
Of the roughly 250,000 items at 2nd Planet, you better believe that one, if not both of the cousins have a story about where the item came from, and what value it brings.
"It gives you a good connection," Laidler said. "Seeing other people that connect with just about anything and knowing that we were the ones that picked that out and held it up in the light for them because it was cool. If it wasn't cool, we probably didn't grab it."
Ford says the opening of the shop is a dream come true, not just because he gets to pursue his passion while running a business with his cousin, but because it allows for the two of them to be close to home and spend time with those they love.
"One guy can take over while the other guy's got a family event going on," Ford explained. "It brings us closer together. There's just something about a family-run business that's so much better than working for anybody else."
While it may be a small, family-run business for now, the cousins' aspirations are big, with hopes to bring a lot of attention to Hwy 28 in St. Michaels.
"It would be excellent to anytime someone walks through the door and says 'Hey, do you happen to have this?' Even if it's only one, I would like to be able to say 'Yeah!' and just go right to it," Laidler said.
"Someday, I could see classic cars lined up in the driveway for sale, and 20 to 30 to 40 to 50 people, a hundred people in here shopping on all open hours," Ford said. "We've got this thing called the sickness. We're ill and it doesn't go away. It just gets worse and worse and as time goes on, you want more and more."