Sabrina Garcia-Rubio moves her vintage clothing store to a new location | Missouri Company


Sabrina Garcia-Rubio stopped by Colombia to meet a friend in the late 1990s when – for almost the first time in her life – she had no plans.

Now she is about to usher her business into its 21st year and a new space.

Maude Vintage is set to open Thursday at its third home in Colombia since it opened in 2000. The move is a downsizing. In October, Garcia-Rubio sold its extensive costume rental inventory that took up the entire basement of the Broadway site.

Garcia-Rubio described the new space at 9 N. Tenth St. — where Consign & Design closed in late February — as “cuter, smaller, cheaper,” but she hadn’t found it when she found it. informed her landlord at 818 Broadway that she would not be renewing her lease.

A rent hike was announced for the space, even after the COVID-19 pandemic caused Maude to close for four months and otherwise slow business.

Garcia-Rubio said she had the opportunity to negotiate, but she decided to walk away instead.

“I felt like I would always negotiate with him as long as I was here and as long as he owned the building,” Garcia-Rubio said. “I was always looking over my shoulder, like, ‘Is he going to raise the rent? Will he take over the basement?’ »

Her decisions to move and part with her 28-year-old costume collection are characteristic of a kind of pragmatic flexibility and intuition she developed as a small business owner.

“It’s something I’ve admitted to trusting,” Garcia-Rubio said.

find a new pathAt school, Garcia-Rubio had “always had a path to something”. She played basketball and volleyball and attended Missouri Valley College on a scholarship. After her first semester, however, Garcia-Rubio decided to leave and step in as a caretaker for her mother who had been through a series of traumatic events.

“That’s when everything started to change for me,” she said. “And I think that’s part of what helps wipe that slate clean.”

Eventually, Garcia-Rubio realized things at home weren’t working out and she was going through a “dark period.”

She had “no goals, no motivation”. She decided to travel and visit friends. She came to Columbia for what she thought was “a pit stop on (the) way to another place.”

She was 19 and carried her cat, TV and clothes in her $200 Chevy Corsica.

“When I realized, ‘Hey, I could choose to put down roots and stay in one place,’ then it was great that I made that decision,” Garcia-Rubio said.

Garcia-Rubio met Ilene Vanabbema, owner of Crazy I’s. Garcia-Rubio asked Vanabbema to let her experiment with buying clothes from people in stores at higher prices to distinguish them from other resale clothing stores in Colombia at the time.

She would offer people more money and sell for more. She bought a leather coat for sale for $50, and Vanabbema thought it wouldn’t sell.

“I was like, ‘Can I just try it out and if it doesn’t sell, you can take it off my paycheck,'” Garcia-Rubio said. “And it sold. It was either that day or the next morning.

Six months later, Garcia-Rubio purchased all of Vanabbema’s inventory. Garcia-Rubio used this inventory to open Maude Vintage at age 23.

La-Toya Jackson began working at Maude Vintage in 2004, in high school as an intern in Columbia’s Career Awareness Related Experience program. Garcia-Rubio hired Jackson that summer. Jackson, now 33 and also working as an assistant preschool teacher, stayed for the positive work environment.

Jackson said Garcia-Rubio helped her come out of her shell and encouraged her to view every customer interaction as a chance to build trust by talking to new people.

“Before working here, I felt like the shyest, quietest person in school,” Jackson said. “I feel like working here has really helped me be more vocal and outspoken.”

Pandemic challenges and opportunitiesWhen the pandemic stopped everything in March 2020, Jackson came into work at Maude on the day his preschool closed. “At the time, we thought everything would be fine,” Jackson said. “But then… as the night progressed, the next day we decided to close as well.”

Garcia-Rubio hasn’t really slowed down during the stop. She used her days to create the online store she had been planning for years – which required some web design skills she had to learn by doing – and move all her inventory to a new system. point of sale.

She said her staff joked “it just took a pandemic for you to get there”.

Meanwhile, Garcia-Rubio encouraged his employees to file for unemployment.

The store staged a soft reopening in July, starting on a weekend and not announcing anything on social media so employees could work out their safety protocols.

Maude Vintage started working on a more normal, but still slightly reduced, schedule because Garcia-Rubio didn’t want her workers to lose hours. She received a Payroll Protection Program loan last fall and recently received another one.

In September, Garcia-Rubio informed his landlord of his intention not to renew his lease.

While searching for her new space, Garcia-Rubio quickly realized that her vast collection of rental costumes would not make it to the new location. The decision to sell the costume inventory was a difficult one.

Some aspects of the costume rental service were on Garcia-Rubio and her time — it took her up to two months to wash out all of the Halloween rentals each year — but she always had goals and plans for it.

“I could have chosen to stay here, but it wouldn’t have been sustainable,” Garcia-Rubio said. “I could have chosen to have a bigger, cheaper place in a small town to keep them…. I could have tried to keep the costumes, but that wouldn’t have improved my lifestyle. is (of) the utmost importance.

Sasha Goodnow, Garcia-Rubio’s best friend, has known her for almost 20 years, worked with her and sells jewelry from her brand FabFab designs at Maude Vintage.

She traveled with Garcia-Rubio on his vintage-buying marathons in Georgia. Traveling alone or with her husband, Garcia-Rubio will sleep in her van along the way until she fills it with goods. Last year, Goodnow began creating a documentary film about Maude Vintage.

Goodnow admires her friend’s ability to examine a situation and assess the bigger picture without clinging to “false realities.”

“There are few people in my life who are truly fearless and so creative and she’s definitely one of them,” Goodnow said.

Goodnow also acknowledges that Garcia-Rubio is able to separate himself as an individual from his company, which likely helps him make tough decisions like last year. This came up in one of their interviews for the Goodnow documentary.

“She’s like, ‘You know, I don’t think my friends hang out with me because I’m Maude, you know, they hang out with me because I’m me,'” Goodnow said.

Brett Wisman, owner of Consign & Design got to know Garcia-Rubio during his store’s six years in downtown Columbia. Several people expressed interest in his Tenth Street retail space, but he wanted Garcia-Rubio to take it.

“I think he’s someone who’s mature enough to know that even a scary change, you know, can blossom into something really exciting and new and different,” Goodnow said.


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