Reunion Clothiers is the kind of store that a trendy Ron Swanson would revel in: a classic American vibe, bourbon in the tiny “living room” area and old-school American and military flags adorning the walls. The owners themselves, Cale Darrell and Frank Welling, have a similar energy. Between their rugged facial hair, stylishly cuffed jeans and joggers and artistic stick-and-poke-style tattoos, the store and the duo are completely in sync. We recently chatted with Darrell and Welling about Reunion’s beginnings, their interest in vintage clothes and the types of styles they have in store.
CityBeat: Tell me more about what this store started out as?
Frank Welling: It was a commuter motor company (Camino Motor Co.) that opened just under a year ago. It was something that I’d seen around in bigger cities. I thought it was really cool and it’d be fun in Cincinnati. However, the support wasn’t there financially. People were hanging out, but not really buying anything. We noticed that art students, neighborhood kids and bartenders would flip through the small vintage collection Cale had. We sat here half vintage store and half moto shop before we decided to partner up and go full vintage. There was an awkward six-week period in between, but we were officially reopened (in May).
CB: Could you tell me more about your interest in vintage clothes?
Cale Darrell: I’ve been collecting vintage clothes for 10 years mostly online. I learned from my father, he does the same thing. In Chicago I’d go to estate sales, flea markets, garage sales, etc. I mostly did things online, though. I had my own rack in here and it was moving along quickly because it was cheaper and unique.
FW: Cale got me into vintage shopping, but I was really only looking for myself at the time.
CB: What vintage styles do you feature?
FW: We're a lot of workwear denim. We feature ’40s-’60s styles and primarily Levi’s and Lee jeans that are all USA made. We like military styles, camo jackets and utility shirts. Essentially, we like World War II items that are made to be indestructible. We have some saddlebags and coveralls from as early as the ’30s and ’20s, but we stop at the ’80s
CB: What's the price point for the shop?
CD: Our range is all over the place due to some items being collectibles, but you can get a pair of '70s/'80s Levi’s for $65 and a 1930’s tote bag for $400.
CB: You guys have men's and women's clothes, correct?
CD: Men’s, women's and kids!
CB: What's both of your favorite items/finds currently in the shop?
FW: 1930’s Wilson Sporting Co. satin coach’s jacket.
CD: 1930’s Lowe & Campbell University of Kentucky ROTC sweatsuit.
CB: This is probably a trade secret, but what are some of your favorite places to look for good, quality vintage in town? Or tips for other vintage hunters?
CD: We usually like to keep that a secret — ha! Honestly, you can find some good stuff all over town. Our buddy Matt Joy has a great collection of stuff and you can always find good stuff over at Casablanca in Northside. For furniture, see Rob at Left Coast Modern.
CB: Any interesting events coming up?
FW: We do Second Sunday (On Main) right outside of the store booth out front.
CB: Do you have any special deals?
CD: We always buy, sell and trade. Bring in vintage pieces for cash or credit, or just come in and look around. We get plenty of people who come in and hang out.
CB: Obviously, most importantly, how frequently are your guys' dogs in the shop? (Darrell has a French bulldog, Craig, and Welling has a black lab, Pearl.)
CD: You can usually catch one or the other in the shop every day!
REUNION CLOTHIERS is located at 1212 Main St., OTR. Hours: noon-7 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 11 -8 p.m. Saturday; 11-4 p.m. Sunday. More info: instagram @reunionclothiers.