Located directly next to the University of Denver, Show Pony Vintage has brought a new experience for students on campus. Having opened in January of this year, the location is one, if not the only, clothing store available to students nearby. In fact, according to the store owner, Emily Hawver, this was the driving force for choosing the specific location.
The location meets all expectations and provides unique energy to the area filled with restaurants, banks and other commercial stores. The hot pink and orange walls prove that there is a new spot in town to funk things up with its endless vintage apparel, 70s Pac-Man game machine and a 70s-inspired lounge area. Not to mention the numerous trolls dolls hiding in all the tiny spaces.
Having spent many of her teenage and adult years scouring thrift stores for the best items, Hawver saw the empty location as a perfect spot to make her hobby into something much more.
“Vintage buying and selling are so much more than picking an item from a magazine and ordering it. I wanted to share this experience with the younger generation,” Hawver said.
Show Pony Vintage is located next to the campus of the University of Denver. Like many big campuses, one would expect DU to have the typical main strip filled with all the locations students admire and enjoy. Hawver saw the empty location as the perfect way to bring in a fun shopping experience for the students, as there were previously no other shopping vendors.
Besides the neon walls and groovy aesthetic, Show Pony is also unique in that it is a collective. Hawver has sought out around 16 vendors to come together and share their love of vintage with the community. These are small local businesses that Show Pony provides a platform for them to vend their vintage items.
Vintage selling is a rather independent form of business. Forming a collective was the perfect way to make it more about a community rather than simply individual selling.
“My goal here is to make this a part of the community, and not only a space for DU students and the surrounding neighborhood, but to make it a community for vintage vendors as well,” Hawver said.
The aim of her collective is to have the individual vendors feel that Show Pony Vintage is their space where they can be successful and build into the community. She wanted to create a spot where clothing lovers around the area could come together, share their finds and form a tight-knit community.
It is essential to Hawver that the local vendors she has in her store want to be a part of the Show Pony Crew and actively participate in the vintage culture.
“I wanted this store to be a combination of a way to offer and sell sustainable fashion to the DU community, but also be a space where you can come in and hang out,” she explained.
As you wisp through the numerous items on the racks, each provides its own special trait. The store prioritizes variety. The vintage items range from baseball caps to intricate lace dresses. The process of sourcing vintage pieces is distinctive to each vendor.
“It is important for you as a vendor to be confident in your style, your niche and what you like to source,” Hawver emphasized.
Whether it be graphic tees or Levis, each vendor is portraying their niche vintage finds. Vintage items are defined as being 20 years or older (so yes, that means an item from 2002 would indeed be considered vintage). Hawver also explained that 20% of the items being sold do not have to be vintage but rather can be second-hand hot commodity items such as a pristine Patagonia or Carhartt jacket.
“It is really an ebb and flow of what the customer base has wanted,” she said.
To create a positive experience for customers, Show Pony Vintage thrives on community and collectivity.
“I did not want the store to be a simple in and out experience, I wanted it to be somewhere where vendors, students, etc. could come and hang out,” she emphasized. Hence the comfortable set of green velvet couches presented in the middle of the store.
Recently, Hawver hired a DU student intern to help better expand and connect the store to students from campus. The store’s upcoming goal is to become more directly involved with the University community. Specifically, they hope to connect with the Greek life on campus.
This summer, Hawver is hosting several events where local artists and vendors can come together to create a fun experience for the community. Looking forward, Hawver has set some exciting goals that include vinyl nights and themed clothing racks.
Hawver demonstrates her love for vintage items through more than just buying and selling, but through the creation of an expansive community. The store intertwines fun and friendly with its neon colors and quirky 70s items and games.
Show Pony Vintage is located at 2025 S University Boulevard, Denver, CO 80210. Follow their Instagram for store updates and happening.