Vintage Toast Is The Definition Of Old School Cool

Located in the part of Clintonville’s High Street that is perfect for window shopping, sits a zany little store. When you make your way up to the brick facade, you are greeted by eye-popping, bright pink paint. A fun, youthful sign reads “Vintage Toast” on bread shaped tiles. A tray of succulents sits in the window and the plants eagerly drink up the sun’s rays. When you open the door and take a step in you’re immediately in a whole new world. Well, it’s actually not new at all. Everything is quite old. Let’s call it vintage.

Vintage Toast is N Hight Street’s newest, cutest, little vintage and antique shop. The front counter is lined with a rainbow of 8-tracks. There are two different sides of the store: one for fashion and one for furniture. Toast has everything including unique pieces of art, a literal record table, 12-foot-long wooden benches that once sat in the old Ohio Union on The Ohio State University’s campus, and a skee ball machine. Yes, you read that correctly. There’s a skee ball machine and you can play it for free.

Jocelyn Blakely is the owner of Vintage Toast, though according to her business cards she’s the “Toastmaster General.” She was a teacher for many years and though she loved the students, she simply wasn’t jumping out of bed to teach anymore.

“I had to have a soul search,” said the Toastmaster.

She realized that the answer was sitting right in front of her. In fact, it was sitting all around her. Surrounded by her collection of antiques and vintage wares, Blakely found her calling.

“Ever since I was very little I’ve been into antiques,” said Blakely. “Some of my earliest memories—actual, vivid memories—are going to flea markets with my dad.”

The Clintonville resident left her teaching gig and scored a part-time position at Grandview Mercantile. She was quickly promoted to a managerial role. Her time at the antique marketplace gave her experience on the other side of the counter of an antique shop. Blakey explained she loved it at Grandview Mercantile, but there was a void that the store could not fill.

As the collector grew up, her love for antiques grew into a love for vintage clothing. Grandview Mercantile is full of wonderful old items, but the store doesn’t sell clothing. It was something that Blakely couldn’t ignore.

“I actually have four closets at home. I’m a little embarrassed about that,” she said with a laugh. “Two of them are pretty much all vintage.”

Her love for old fashion is what drove Blakely to open up her own shop. A lot of her own collection made its way to the clothing racks and shelves of Vintage Toast. From clothing to some of the art and furniture, the Toastmaster was excited to live her dream.

A lot of her own collection has made its ways to the clothing racks and shelves of Vintage Toast. She thinks that roughly 15 percent of what’s inside the store was once sitting somewhere in her house.

“I’ve come to a point where I can’t have everything that I love. It’s just too much. The excitement of seeing someone else get into it and smile when they find something—that’s gratifying. More so than being upset that it’s leaving, I’m happy that it’s going to a good home,” said Blakely.

If she’s not digging it out of her own basement, the shop owner finds the treasures online or at auctions. The hunt has always been her favorite part of antiquing. Now that Blakely has an entire store to fill, she is thrilled to get her hands on all sorts of cool items. Like the skee machine she found on eBay.

Vintage Toast has only been open for a couple of weeks. Though Blakely had been preparing to open a store, her location on N High Street practically fell in her lap. Cottage Street, the former tenant, was planning to move to Grandview. Blakely saw the “For Lease” sign in the window and sprung into action. For whatever reason, the business ahead of them in line for the storefront was not selected. Vintage Toast got the place by a stroke of luck.

“We were the next people on the list,” said Blakely with glee. “And I guess there were like 6 people after us so I feel very, very lucky that we ended up here.”

Vintage Toast is surrounded by other small, local stores. Before she even knew that this location was available, the Toastmaster had an inkling that she would want to open her store in the area. The nearby antique and vintage shops draw in shoppers. You would think there’s heavy competition for these customers. But there’s not.

“I think that’s one of the things I’ve noticed about this block—just in the short time that I’ve been open—everybody is rooting for everybody else,” Blakely said. “We want to see everyone succeed and kind of build up the entire area.”

The Toastmaster is still getting into the rhythm of things. At the top of her to-do list: revamping the Vintage Toast website and setting up an online store. Blakely hopes to start up an Etsy shop so she can expand her business to online sales.

Vintage Toast is at 3284 N High St. If you would like to see what else Vintage Toast has to offer, take a look at more of its treasures below.

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