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Passion for vintage clothing, costuming fuels Rediscoveries

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8-28-13

By Robin Jordan

Brian Mogren, owner of Rediscoveries Vintage Clothing & Costume, 83 E. Park, said his interest in historical artifacts and collecting started at an early age.

“I began collecting when I was 12 years old,” Mogren said. “I grew up in Opportunity. My grandparents had lots of old things and one of our close neighbors collected glassware. I grew up with an interest in antiques.”

Mogren also developed an interest in theater during high school and participated in high school and in college. He said at one point, he even considered majoring in theater, but instead got his teaching degree at Western Montana College and taught for several years.

However, he continued his passion for antiques, especially vintage clothing. He said he began selling vintage clothing wholesale in the 1980s and began doing costuming for theatrical shows in 1985. In 1990, he opened his own vintage clothing store, Debris, at 123 N. Main in 1990.

Mogren said he moved the business to 55 W. Park in 1992 and opened Rediscoveries at its current location in 2000. He said the shop, which offers vintage clothing, a huge collection of hats, accessories, jewelry, toys and other items from bygone years, caters primarily to women. Although most of his stock is available for purchase, he offers costume rentals.

“Costume rental has become the main part of my business,” he said. He said he does a brisk rental business for Halloween and for other special occasions like proms or period dress balls like one held recently in Virginia City.

Summer has been busy for Mogren, he said. In addition to running Rediscoveries during Butte’s bustling festival and tourist season, he did all the costuming for and even performed in Butte Burlesque, the variety show staged in July by the Big Sky Repertory Theatre. Once that was through, he had to travel to other antique fairs and shows, including a vintage doll show. He said buying and selling at these regional events is a big part of his business.

Retail business has changed during the years he has been in Butte, Mogren said. Not only has the retail makeup of Uptown Butte changed, but customers have developed new shopping habits, such as buying on the internet. Mogren said if businesses are to succeed, they need to keep current on marketing ideas and how to best reach their target customers.

Keeping their doors open a bit later to take advantage of those customers who come Uptown in the evening hours to eat might help retailers in the district, he said. He said on days this summer he has stayed open later, a number of customers have taken the opportunity to shop during more convenient hours.

Mogren said he is optimistic about the future of retail in Uptown Butte. He said he chooses to stay in Uptown Butte, not because he has to, but because he believes in the potential of the district. He would like to see an open former for potential business owners to meet with current business owners so they could share experience and new ideas that could help the district grow.

“I think it’s great that we’ve seen big renovations like the Hennessy Market and Apartments, the Metals Bank building and the Hirbour Tower,” he said. “I’m hoping that the construction of the new General Operations building for NorthWestern Energy will encourage people interested in opening new businesses in the Uptown. If it brings some new businesses in, the NorthWestern building could be the spark that Uptown Butte has needed to finally turn the corner.”

Rediscoveries Vintage Clothing & Costume is open Monday 11:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Tuesday-Friday 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday 11 a.m.-4 p.m. For information, call 723-2176.     

 

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