Caldor, Bradlees and More: The Website Selling Retro T-shirts From Now-Defunct Regional Brands
These days, it feels like every brand is going the nostalgia route for advertising and marketing. And why not? It works. Sometimes, it leads to creative campaigns like Michelob Ultra's "NBA Jam" pop-up. Most of the time, it leads to fun branded merchandise.
But what's the only thing more nostalgic than current brands drawing on older designs and properties for new promotions? How about merch for brands that have been out of business for decades?
That's what you'll find at Local Vyntage. In fact, that's the online store's whole raison d'être. The site is loaded with T-shirts and hoodies featuring logos from now-defunct brands. And while we've seen things like this before, Local Vyntage adds a fun twist: Most of these brands are (or rather, were) smaller local or regional operations that shoppers can browse by city or state.
Do you still have your Aladdin's Castle tokens? Trade them in for our NEW Vyntage tee at https://t.co/ntXiEHL0OS! In related news, we don't actually accept tokens as payment. pic.twitter.com/I9lsvk8lWP
— Local Vyntage (@localvyntage) March 4, 2022
That means plenty of obscure options depending on the search area. There are shirts for semi-large regional chains like Caldor and Ames, sure, but there are also deep cuts like Whalom Park if you search Massachusetts and The Enchanted Forest if you search Rhode Island.
Are we a little bit disappointed that there are no shirts for West Coast Video (the great Northeast movie rental chain) or Exhilarama (the classic mall arcade/indoor amusement park)? Sure, but at least we Philadelphia-area folks can get a shirt for PRISM (the regional premium cable television channel) or Laneco (the Philly/Jersey grocery store).
Looking at all the old logos, it's interesting to see just how much nostalgia influences modern design. (Compare, for example, Burger King's recent rebrand and this old Burger Chef shirt.) And the fact that there's a market at all for this kind of thing reinforces the idea that nostalgia, for better or worse, really does sell.
More than anything, though, it's a fun trip down memory lane.
— Local Vyntage (@localvyntage) April 15, 2022
“We know how much you love to reminisce about the good old days and all the things that make your city unique,” the site reads, as noted by Input Mag. “It’s part of who we are. We want to connect people and help them share their memories. So, when you get stopped by a total stranger to talk about your shirt—that’s when you’ll know we’ve achieved our goal.”