Everything is handpicked at Vintage Market and Supply in Cedar Rapids

“We really want to promote Cedar Rapids and its history,” says Janet Kleopfer, co-owner of Vintage Market and Supply Co. in the Czech village of Cedar Rapids. (Geoff Stellfox/The Gazette)

Janet and Chad Kleopfer, the mother-son duo who own and run Vintage Market and Supply Co, pose for a portrait Wednesday, March 16, 2022, at Vintage Market and Supply Co. in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (Geoff Stellfox/The Gazette)

The morning sun illuminates Vintage Market and Supply Co on Wednesday, March 16, 2022 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (Geoff Stellfox/The Gazette)

Merchandise fills the walls on Wednesday, March 16, 2022 at the Vintage Market and Supply Co. in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (Geoff Stellfox/The Gazette)

Merchandise fills the walls on Wednesday, March 16, 2022 at the Vintage Market and Supply Co. in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (Geoff Stellfox/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS – It might not seem obvious at first, but there’s something of a theme to the pieces on display at Vintage Market and Supply.

“That’s what we like to collect,” said Chad Kleopfer.

“Here, everything has been sorted on the shutter. We don’t buy stuff… to make a quick buck. These are all things we appreciate, love and collect.

Kleopfer returned to his hometown of Des Moines, where he had managed clothing stores, in late 2020.

“I hadn’t come back, so seeing all the derecho (damage) was hard to see,” he said. “Seeing all the devastation and all the work that was left to do, once this opportunity presented itself, we definitely wanted to participate, especially in the (Czech) village.”

Kleopfer operated a booth at a Des Moines antique mall and saw a niche his collection could fill in Cedar Rapids. Her mother, Janet Kleopfer, had run a consignment shop in Marion, Puddle Jumpers, before taking about eight years to nanny her niece’s three children.

“Mom has been wanting to start a business since she sold Puddle Jumpers,” he said. “She always wanted to get back into it, and that was me coming home.”

“That building was empty and my sister owns it,” Janet said. “She was like, ‘What do you think about opening a store there?’ Sure.'”

The mother-son team remodeled and renovated the interior of the building, which had been a series of restaurants. They opened in July, with an emphasis on local and regional historical elements.

“We really want to promote Cedar Rapids and its history,” Janet said. “That’s what we tried to do.”

“We like the Iowa and Cedar Rapids stuff, and Czech Village stuff,” Chad said. “It was our side of town. My grandfather Frank owned a bunch of gas stations on the west side. This is where we grew up, so we are proud of the village.

The initial inventory was taken from Chad’s own collection, some handled through his antiques mall and some he had simply kept over the years.

Vintage Market and Supply Co.

Owners: Janet and Chad Kleopfer

Address: 95 16th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids

Call: (319) 200-4555

Website: facebook.com/Vintagemarket.village

“You should have seen his house before he moved out,” Janet said. “It looked like that. It’s kind of a pulp culture feeling. It’s different from an antique store. It’s eclectic.

The store reflects the regional focus of its owners in its selection of Kernels and pre-Kernels minor league baseball memorabilia and items from local brands such as Life soft drinks.

“I’m lucky to have grown up in Cedar Rapids here in the 80s, so I’ve always collected Cedar Rapids stuff,” Chad said, “our baseball history, business history.”

There are many more where that came from, from decades of collecting.

“We pretty much have something for everyone and we’re taking requests. Our basement is half a sales floor, the other half is storage,” Chad said. “We probably have double the same amount of storage you see on the floor. We have huge collections that take time to browse… .

The store’s first few months have been encouraging, the Kleopfers said.

“Cedar Rapids has become a real destination for many Midwestern tourists,” he said. “They were stopping, which surprised us because we were still new and Cedar Rapids didn’t really know us. These people knew, ‘I know a store like this in Minneapolis.’ »

Customer interest prompted modest expansions into vintage clothing and vinyl records,

“A lot of young women are really into it,” Janet noted. “The younger girls were asking about vintage clothes for women. Chad has always had vintage for men, so we started talking about that a bit.

“We have a pretty good record collection, and we started collecting and buying people who had a collection they wanted to sell.”

Pyrex cookware may be the next big vintage thing, based on the experience of the Kleopfers.

“It’s something new for us, but there’s a huge following,” Janet said. “You can put it in the microwave, you can put it in the oven.”

Chad hopes to develop a website for the store this year and, helped by his two brothers, the Kleopfers plan to participate in a few flea markets in addition to the main activity.

“It’s a good place to be, Czech Village,” Chad said.

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