If you walk downtown in Cedarville, you will come across several independently owned shops. One store in particular, Deborah’s Attic, stands out in its own way when you walk in and see its racks of vintage clothing. If you are looking for a special outfit for Campus Christmas or Elliv, you may find it there among the clothing and antiques dating back as early as the 18th century.
Owner Deborah Stallard has been in business since 1978 when she officially opened a store in Springfield. Before then she had been selling vintage items from her house.
“I have always loved clothes,” Stallard said. “I was a Barbie girl. My stepsister got me into it. She got a bag of clothes from her grandmother and there were all these really cool jackets. I always liked to make my own clothes in high school too. I just like different stuff.”
Stallard started wearing vintage items back in the 1960s, going to thrift shops to find them.
“They don’t make (clothing) like they used to back in the ‘30s, the old movies,” Stallard said. “The things they wore back then were just awesome. Those girls had class.”
Stallard, a Cedarville native, relocated her shop here in 2011 after her store in Springfield was torn down.
“At the time, I was burned out,” Stallard said. “I just had an auction and cut my losses but I still kept a lot. I went to flea markets, antique malls, had a couple of booths and eBay so I had an eight-year break just doing that.”
While riding on the Cedarville bike path, Stallard’s husband Warren rode past the vacant building on Main Street which would later become the shop she works in now. After two years of being in Cedarville, her business is gaining strength.
“Even though I already had an established business (in Springfield), you lose contact with the customer base but I’m back to where things are clicking,” Stallard said. “I figured it was going to take me two years but that is just business. It just takes a while to get the momentum going.”
While Stallard’s store is more profitable around October due to Halloween sales, there have been times when she has seen the store struggle.
“A business, no matter what you are doing, is always going to take you a couple years,” Stallard said. “You plan to lose money, and I did but then I started making money.”
One of her favorite items currently in the shop is a long, black velvet evening dress embellished with rhinestones.
“It’s just gorgeous,” Stallard said. “I love texture and I am a big fabric person.”
Other special items currently in her shop include a 1950s plaid peplum suit, a 1950s wedding dress, a photo of Hollywood actress Grace Kelly, a Japanese rice bowl and a pair of stockings introduced by Italian fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli.
Stallard’s bestselling items are the clothing in the shop.
“I sold a black suit to a girl the other day,” Stallard said. “It was the perfect job interview suit from the 1950s. She looked like a million bucks.”
Other high selling items in the shop are the vinyl records.
“I have been collecting for 35 years,” Stallard said. “I kept telling my husband that vinyl is going to come back and it did. Even now with new releases, they put out vinyl as well as CDs. To me, there is nothing like holding that (record) and reading those liner notes. Vinyl has been moving very well. It just took a while.”
Stallard hopes more students will check out her shop.
“I think they would like it,” she said. “Don’t think you have to take a ‘50s dress and (wear) ‘50s shoes with it because you are going to look like a character in a costume. Take the clothes and put them with your new shoes or your new belt. Work with it. Make it you and work it into your wardrobe.”
Stallard also hopes to have costumes available in her shop again for next year’s Halloween like she previously did at her Springfield store. Stallard does reserve items for customers if they place a deposit and also allows customers to trade in vintage items for an item in the shop. Deborah’s Attic accepts donations.
Ashley Matthew is a senior journalism major and reporter for Cedars. She loves shopping and watching professional wrestling.