PONTIAC, Mich. – Located on the second floor of 7 N Saginaw Street in Pontiac is a vintage store filled with sparkling jewelry, lacy negligees and beautiful dresses.
"I remember as a young girl going shopping with my mother and Virgie [her grandmother] and we would go to garage sales," describes Virgie Geroux owner, Kelly Sykes. "There was a very specific time where I bought three rhinestone broaches and a Levi jacket for a dollar, and a box of Harlequin Romance novels for a quarter, and that really defines what I am and what my store is about."
Ever since she collected clothing and other vintage items. " This became an obsession," Kelly adds. "I decided at one point I had to sell these things."
So Kelly Sykes opened her business, Virgie Geroux, formally known as Chi-Chi and the Greek. The name Virgie Geroux is from her grandmother, a major inspiration for the store. "She really taught me how to be a lady, " Kelly explains. "She always told me I could do anything I wanted to do ... and I wanted to do something to show her how much she meant to me."
Over the years her business grew into the store it is today with women's items dating from the 1980s all the way back to the 1920s; but what she has in the store is just the tip of the iceberg.
"So I've collected for 20 years hard core and I've sold for about 7 years," Kelly explains. "I probably have one of the biggest collections that one could have in Michigan of vintage. So I try to get as much in the store without overwhelming people, but I am constantly unpacking new things, and I am constantly, unfortunately, buying things all the time."
Her carefully curated collection eventually caught the attention of Hollywood. She has sold to films, TV shows, designers, and other vintage stores, but what she enjoys the most is the one on one interaction with her customers.
"I get to hear their stories of either their mother, or their grandmother. It's a very beautiful experience because it is jogging all these memories," says Kelly.
Another thing Kelly loves to do is style her clients. As she explains, not every person is going to look like Betty Draper in a fit and flare, but there may be another silhouette that better suits them.
She also wants her guests to know how to properly care for their vintage items so here is her advice:
1) If it was made before washing machines were commonly used, DO NOT put it in the washer. Instead wash them by hand in the bath tub with palm olive, baby detergent, and vinegar or woolite. Hang to dry.
2) If you vintage jean jacket is feeling stiff, wash it in warm salt water over night with some fabric softener and it will come out nice and comfy.
If you would like to check out Virgie Geroux, they are located at 7 N Saginaw St. Suite 2C in Pontiac. For more information, please visit their website here.