The Beginnings

As a child from a low income home I didn’t see thrift shopping as important. In fact at that time there was a stigma about wearing second-hand clothes that made me stand out from my classmates who were able to sport the latest season of Gap, the Limited, Gadzooks or other mall and department store offerings. They weren’t outright mean about it but I definitely didn’t get invited to spend the weekend at the mall or chat about my newest sweater. Those closest to me would offer me their last years clothing and I happily took them so I could be a part of presenting fresh and appealing.

Later, navigating college and finances on my own, I found myself turning to thrift shops for my wardrobe once again. It was then that I discovered the world of vintage clothing.  I discovered that standing out from others was exactly what I wanted to do, and this time on my own terms, vintage offered that in so many exciting ways.

Fast forward to my early days in Columbia where I took a job at the local Salvation Army Thrift Store.  I was struck by the sheer volume of clothing discarded each year. Most was being directly bailed to be sold to textile companies who make grease rags and the like. While I understand repurposing outdated surplus garments or throwing out heavily stained and unrepairable ones, it greatly disappointed me to see perfectly wearable vintage clothing meet the same fate. Despite my efforts, I couldn’t convince the store management otherwise.

Around that same time I was offered a position at a local vintage shop called Crazy I’s, ran by Ilene Vanabbema. For six months I toiled obsessively to clean, steam and stock the inventory she had stored. I created a buying system that hadn’t been in place before and thoroughly enjoyed the process and the customers.

Witnessing me operate her store in this manner made her realize she was burned out after eight years and had decided to sell the business. Without hesitation, and fueled to see this project I had started through, I intrepidly made the decision to quit school, secured a small business loan, purchased the inventory, rebranded the store as Maude Vintage and relocated it to a new location. 

That’s how Maude Vintage began on November 7, 2000. Over two decades later, I am still highly motivated by the sustainability of vintage and the importance of shopping local. I source the inventory from people who sell from their closets, people who sell as a side hustle, people who sell for their aging or departed family members. At Maude Vintage, we prioritize purchasing goods directly from communities. By investing in these storied pieces, we not only preserve their legacy but also ensure that the money we spend is a part of the local multiplier effect, in other words, our dollars are recirculating through the local economy. 

At Maude Vintage, we take pleasure in offering guilt-free vintage find choices to our unique and self-expressive customers. Whether it’s for everyday wear, statement looks, or special occasions requiring vintage flair, we’re here to serve you on your voyage through the realm of vintage accouterment. 


If you’d like to read more about my history check out this article written by Kate Smart in 2010!  

 ~Sabrina Garcia-Rubio