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GROOVY, BABY! Local business a mecca for fans of ’60s, ’70s collectibles

 GROOVY, BABY! Local business a mecca for fans of ’60s, ’70s collectibles

Matthew Mai stands with members of KISS — well, cardboard cutout members of the band — in the back room of Finders Keepers Vintage & Vinyl.

The take-you-back-in-time aroma of incense, the mind-blowing sight of classic rock-themed black-light posters (all originals, no reproductions) and racks of clothing that could have been worn (literally!) at Woodstock greet you when you step inside Plymouth’s Finders Keepers Vintage & Vinyl store.

The space is more than cool.

As Austin Powers might say, “It’s groovy, baby!”

Pink Floyd to WLLZ

Tables meticulously organized with rows of original 1960s and ’70s vinyl records — some featuring legendary classic-rock bands like Pink Floyd and Metallica — and one-of-a-kind items like an eye-catching WLLZ 98.7 promotional lighting display make the 2,000-plus-square-feet room owned by Matthew and Kamie Mai akin to a time machine trip back to the Flower Power era.

A black-light poster featuring Jim Morrison hangs above the vast collection of classic vinyl records
A black light poster featuring Jim Morrison hangs above the vast collection of classic vinyl records

Finders Keepers is the ever-evolving creation of the Mais, who also run a popular hair salon — Urban Roots — that is comfortably sandwiched between the business’s front showroom and its rear storage room.

“This place is forever changing,” said Finders Keepers employee Morgan Hassett. “At least twice a week they’re bringing new items in. I love the vibe.”

Matthew gives all the credit for the idea of the vintage store to Kamie, whose passion for memorabilia runs through her bloodstream.

Part of her DNA

“I’ve been around the flea market business since I was 9 or 10,” reflected Kamie, a graduate of Plymouth-Canton Schools. “My grandpa lost his job Up North six months before retirement, so he started flea marketing to make money.

Matthew and Kamie Mai are the proud owners of Finders Keepers Vintage & Vinyl and Urban Roots
Matthew and Kamie Mai are the proud owners of Finders Keepers Vintage Vinyl and Urban Roots

“He’d take my sister, my cousin and I to flea markets, where we’d help him set up his booths and sell stuff. I’ve had a connection to older stuff since I was a young kid.”

When a property next door to their original Urban Roots location on Starkweather St. in Plymouth’s Old Village became available in 2010, the Mais opened Finders Keepers, which they relocated to 900 N. Mill Street (two blocks north of their original site) early this year.

Let’s do this!

“I’d always wanted to open a vintage-themed store,” Kamie said. “When the property next door became available, we went for it because we could walk to both businesses.”

The Mais are all-in when it comes to finding inventory for their vintage store.

“We love the hunt,” said Matthew. “I tell people there are times we’re at flea markets in Bay City and Monroe all in the same day.

Employee Morgan Hassett is pictured in the spacious Finders Keepers showroom
Employee Morgan Hassett is pictured in the spacious Finders Keepers showroom

“We usually take two big trips a year. We recently returned from a four-day trip through Ohio and Kentucky when we hit seven antique malls, four flea markets and several garage sales.”

Honey holes

Matthew said he and Kamie occasionally stumble open vintage collectibles gold mines, which they refer to as honey holes.

They encountered their most-memorable find not long after they put their vintage-store idea into motion.

“A guy heard I was collecting and selling original vinyl records — this was before they started becoming as popular as they are now — and he invited me to check out his collection of 1,400 records that he had played once to record a cassette and then stored away,” Matthew explained.

“I bought the entire collection, which we discovered included some super-rare records — we’re talking original Zeppelin, Pink Floyd … hard-to-find original stuff.”

This place is uniquely different

Matthew said there’s one distinct feature that sets Finders Keepers apart from items sold in most record stores.

“Everything we sell is original stock,” he said. “You can go into a record store today and buy a Led Zeppelin vinyl record for $30, but it’s not original. For example, an original Zeppelin record — like we’ve sold before — is worth up to $800 or more if it’s scratch-free.

“We’ve stock some jazz albums that are worth between $1,500 and $2,000.”

Finders Keepers is also unique because it’s solely a retail operation — there are no online sales.

“I like the personal touch we can provide since we’re retail only,” said Matthew, who carved out a 20-year-plus career in the music industry before his becoming a business owner. “When you sell inventory online, yeah, it’s probably more profitable because you have millions of people looking at your stuff, but it’s too impersonal for us.”

The Mais doubled the square footage of their vintage store when they moved from Starkweather to Mill Street.

A 1970s WLLZ promotional light is one of the unique items for sale in Finders Keepers
A 1970s WLLZ promotional light is one of the unique items for sale in Finders Keepers

The move also accelerated sales and the number of customers who stop in, Matthew added, because of the increased traffic volume on Mill St. compared to Starkweather.

“We’ve had people who are stopped by a train (the tracks run just east of the business), see our sign, wonder what we’re about and stop in,” Matthew said.

The stylish, compelling manner in which the Mais and their employees have decorated their new property’s interior tampered concerns of longtime customers.

“Some of our loyal customers worried that the business would lose its cool vibe when we doubled the space,” Matthew said. “But they absolutely love what we’ve done to in here.

“They tell us it has the same vibe, but it’s just blown up.”

In other words, it’s groovy, baby!

Ed Wright can be reached at 734-664-4657 or edwright@socialhousenews.com.

Finders Keepers Vintage & Vinyl is located at 900 N Mill Street in Plymouth
Finders Keepers Vintage Vinyl is located at 900 N Mill Street in Plymouth

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ed Wright

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