Arts & Culture » Culture

Mayor brings back the heyday of Hamtramck with Tekla Vintage

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Karen Majewski has been enamored of vintage, more or less, since high school. She also happens to be the mayor of Hamtramck. By opening a resale shop in the same city where she presides over all municipal matters, she was able to marry her two passions: vintage goods and her hometown.

Inside Tekla Vintage, Majewski sells any number of vintage goods. Plenty of mannequins don ’40s-, ’50s-, and ’60s-style dresses, and ornate necklaces are also prominently featured. Luggage, handbags, and hats are also part of her stock. She has some small furniture, but says the store just doesn't have enough space for her to sell as much of the bigger stuff as she might like. Lamps, knickknacks, glasses, vases, paintings, even silverware, have all been available in the stock at one time or another. She also carries old greeting cards and some vintage (and, let's face it, kind of creepy) toys. The store has rows and rows of ladies shoes in a rainbow of colors. For men, she stocks shiny ’70s polyester shirts. The store has tons of jewelry from stud earrings to more flowing, feathery adornments. Majewski gets new items in almost daily, and buys some of her stock from customers looking to unload some of their own vintage items.

The store has been open since September 2014, and Majewski says the reaction has been great. She has little competition other than from Detroit Threads and Lo and Behold, two locally owned stores that also carry some resale clothing, but she says she's been friendly with their shopkeepers for years.

Customers are excited to see the space that was once a women's fashion boutique restored to its original purpose. Majewski says she did over a year-and-a-half's worth of renovations and still isn't done. During a restoration of the store's large window display, she uncovered sizable carved wooden columns that were hidden behind a display wall for so many years that even the store's former owners didn't know they were there. The ornate, cream-colored pillars are now a major fixture in the store's front window, just one way Majewski is bringing the heydays of Hamtramck back to life.

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