Wil Crossley works on a laptop at the checkout counter of Modern Vintage Marketplace in Highlands Ranch on it’s opening day, Nov. 1. Crossley co-owns the new store with his wife Kelly Crossley, who runs the business. Credit: Rachel Lorenz
“I’m truly vintage now … How cool is that?” says Kelly Crossley, owner of Modern Vintage Marketplace, as she holds a dress she wore as a grade schooler in the ‘80s. Photo by Rachel Lorenz

A year after her exit from corporate America, Kelly Crossley has taken a leap and launched a store in Highlands Ranch full of pieces she loves. Modern Vintage Marketplace, which opened on Nov. 1, carries home decor, collectibles, men’s and women’s clothing, and hundreds of other items that have caught the first-time business owner’s admiring eye. 

“Each piece is uniquely picked by mostly me,” said Crossley, who previously worked in information technology and employee engagement. Some products are selected by Wil Crossley, her husband and partner in the new endeavor.

Long before she started her adventure in retail, Crossley said she had curated a collection of items from her own life that were beautiful or well-made or held special meaning. A fan of vintage glassware and handbags, she enjoys searching estate sales, thrift stores and the internet for pieces. She has an appreciation for things that were made “back in the day” and has learned that others do, too.

This realization led her to start buying and reselling unique and vintage goods on digital forums like Mercari and Poshmark. But shipping glass was a “nightmare” and eventually she decided she wanted a brick-and-mortar store. 

“You’re not paying shipping. You get to touch it, feel it,” Crossley said, describing to Colordado Community Media the in-person shopping experience she’s creating. “You get to try it on … if it doesn’t meet your (expectation), you don’t have to deal with returning it. So I’m hoping that is a more attractive way to go.” 

Although about 75% of Modern Vintage Marketplace’s 2,000-plus-piece inventory has been previously owned, the Crossleys are reluctant to use words like used or thrift or resale. Instead, they use the term “rescued” to describe their not-new merchandise. It’s a nod to the idea that they’ve saved quality products from a sorry fate languishing unappreciated at a charity shop or, worse, in a landfill.

Crossley said she put the 1,400-square-foot store together with shoppers in mind. She wanted the fitting room spacious and the restroom fun. (It’s tiki themed.) She picked a name for the place that hints at what kind of items customers would find inside. Songs from decades past play over the speakers and set a nostalgic mood. A set of lockers near the back allow customers to set aside pieces they’re interested in while trying on clothes. There’s even a pair of upholstered chairs where one can linger with a hot beverage. 

“I want you to feel comfortable and enjoy yourself — not just be running in and then running out,” Crossley said. “Hang out for a while.” 

Newly opened Modern Vintage Marketplace in Highlands Ranch sells new and vintage adult clothing, accessories, home decor and collectibles

Whether it’s the colorful, mismatched letters spelling out the store name on the wall or the second-hand butcher blocks that make up the checkout counter or the cedar fence pickets Wil repurposed for baseboards, the Crossleys succeeding in generating the “it’s all good” vibe Kelly was going for. And they did it on a budget. 

“It’s just us and our savings,” Wil Crossley said, “so we were scrimping and saving and using reused things whenever we could.”

While Kelly Crossley is happy to be out of the corporate world and working for herself, she’s noticed she’s using lot of the skills she developed in her former career to get her fledgling shop off the ground: reading contracts, negotiating prices, managing relationships with vendors and customers. This difference is now she’s doing it to benefit her own business instead of someone else’s.

“I tell people, it’s scary and exciting all at the same time,” she said. 

Leave a comment

We encourage comments. Your thoughts, ideas and concerns play a critical role helping Colorado Community Media be more responsive to your needs. We expect conversations to follow the conventions of polite discourse. Therefore, we won't allow posts that:
  • Contain vulgar language, personal attacks of any kind, or offensive terms that target protected classes
  • Promote commercial services or products (relevant links are acceptable)
  • Are far off-topic
  • Make unsupported accusations