Providence is a notoriously hard place to operate a business. But if there’s one positive to come out of that, it’s that independent retailers have an incredible spirit of camaraderie, and do what they can to support each other, with the understanding that if one person starts shopping local, it benefits everyone. The Guide to Providence Vintage is proof of that spirit: a paper map and Facebook page started by Christine Francis-Barta, owner of Carmen and Ginger in the Arcade, it’s a centralized resource for the ever-growing vintage scene in PVD.
“Once I opened my brick and mortar shop, I knew I wanted to try and create something to unify the vintage sellers throughout the city, which does not have just one shopping district,” Christine says. “My first idea was to create an online resource. But then, I realized I kept drawing maps for people in my shop to show them how to get to What Cheer Antiques + Vintage on Thayer or Rocket to Mars on Broadway.” The map has the locations of all of the vintage (and vintage thinking) storefronts in the city, with the idea that people see Providence as a vintage destination and want to make a day of shopping around in the city. She’s about to launch the second version of the map, which includes more than just shopping. Christine says, “The idea is to create a guide to entice people from out of town to come spend the weekend in Providence; not just shopping vintage, but staying at The Dean, getting their hair styled at Suite Tart, eating at Ogie’s and catching a Chifferobe Event.”