Ten Years of STL-Style

Jun 14, 2011 at 1:01 pm
St. Louis rocks, and we've got the T-shirts to prove it.
St. Louis rocks, and we've got the T-shirts to prove it.
Anybody can crank out a T-shirt with an image of the Gateway Arch on it -- bam, souvenir. Boring!

But, for the past ten years, there's been a source for clever, insidery St. Louis gear. Do you need underpants that say "gooey butter cake," or a onesie that asks "Where'd you go to pre-school?" St. Louis uber-boosters Jeff and Randy Vines and their team have got you covered.

(Not that the Daily RFT picks favorites, but their T-shirt that says "Saint Louis City" modeled after the iconic "New York City" shirt famously worn by John Lennon is pretty mind-blowing.)

STL-Style, the Vines' design outfit, does custom printing as well as offering bags, hats, T-shirts, mugs and other goodies that rep the 'Lou. And this Saturday, they're throwing themselves a tenth birthday party.

They've had an online presence since 2001, and opened a storefront on Cherokee Street more than a year ago.

"It's just transformed everything," Randy Vines says of the move to a bricks-and-mortar space. "We can finally contribute to the vitality of the city, which is something we've always felt very strongly about."

It was important to the Vines brothers to be on Cherokee Street, Randy Vines says. And in the time they've been there, business has taken off more than they expected, with about half their customers coming from foot traffic -- way more than they anticipated.

"We thought that, with having the store, we'd get some business trucking in on the weekends, maybe a little word of mouth," he says. "We never expected we'd be busy all the time."

In fact, they've been so busy that, a few months ago, they found themselves bursting at the seams, with their retail operation bumping up against their on-site workshop. Then they heard that their neighbors, crafty emporium Peridot, needed a smaller space and were thinking of leaving the area.

The new space.
The new space.
The new space.
The two businesses switched space, with STL-Style spread out invitingly in a new space -- a move that, to Randy Vines, seems to illustrate just why they wanted to be part of the Cherokee scene in the first place.

"It's a testament to the community spirit of Cherokee and why we would never want to be anywhere else," Vines says. The old space was fine, but the size and layout gave customers the feeling of barging in on a workshop rather than stopping by to shop. Now, the space feels like a place to hang out and ogle the murals and the goodies.

Saturday brings a DJ, burlesque dancers, food, drinks and a party to the shop, located at 3159 Cherokee Street. All the store's merch will be ten percent off, and the party coincides with Medusa's Craft Menagerie and the Cherokee Stroll, so the block will be hoppin'. The party starts at 7 p.m., with the burlesque ladies hitting the floor around ten.