This past weekend, Rock Candy Vintage opened its doors for customers to check out eclectic and vintage clothing, jewelry and other trinkets. The grand opening occured on Saturday, April 7 from 12 to 5 p.m. where prizes, coupons and rock candy were given away for the occasion. Five percent of sales for the day were donated to the National Association of Mental Illness of New York State.
Candace Schuster, otherwise known as Candy and the owner of Rock Candy Vintage, answered customers’ questions and gave tours around the store while they cycled in and out all day.
Schuster is the former executive director of the Newburgh Historical Society Museum and also worked at Vassar College. Her background includes museum studies as well as textile conservation. However, she grew tired and felt stressed from working two jobs.
“Even though I liked what I was doing, it was a grind doing it,” Schuster said.
Schuster ran into the women who she knew from years prior and owned the store before Rock Candy Vintage, Aphrodite’s Antiques. She was looking to sell the store.
“It was fated,” Schuster said. “I’ve always said I kind of wanted to do something like this.”
Schuster bought Aphrodite’s Antiques in September. She began renovations at this time with painting here and there. When Aphrodite’s Antiques officially closed mid-March; for three weeks Schuster and her team endured long hours and tough work to complete the renovations.
Schuster is partnered with her daughter Victoria Schuster, the buyer for Rock Candy Vintage while Genevieve Schuster, her other daughter, is the general manager. “It is a family business,” said Candace as her granddaughter yelled in the background, “Who wants rock candy?”
Schuster notes that the best part about the business is that the nature of it is always changing. The business will constantly have new clothing. Rock Candy Vintage works to find unique pieces of clothing to sell. They often fall in love with the pieces themselves and wish they didn’t always have to put it up for sale.
“Fashion is one of those things that is ever-changing and ever coming back too,” said Schuster. “The whole 60s, 70s, and 80s look is really in style and everyone is wearing that now. We are looking for a lot of pieces from that time period.”
One of Schuster’s favorite pieces is a very rare Ramones t-shirt. She was a “purple-haired punk rocker in the city years ago” and knew a few of the band members. It was hard for her to not fall in love with the piece, and even harder to put a price tag on it.
This was also where the name of the store came from. Schuster’s rocker past mixed with what she usually goes by created a great name: Rock Candy Vintage.
There is not necessarily a certain protocol when obtaining pieces for the store. “I don’t really have a process honestly. It is pretty chaotic and not super organized,” Victoria said. “But, I think that is the best way to get all this stuff.” Victoria mostly buys from wholesale vintage stores.
The business also strives to help local, smaller, independent artists. A significant amount of their jewelry is bought from local businesses. Rock Candy Vintage also loves to buy from other businesses who give back. The profits from their candles, perfumes, and blankets all donate to different organizations regarding animal rescue or women surviving domestic abuse.
Victoria explained that her mom always had a significant influence on her regarding design and having an eye for fashion. She would often rearrange and redecorate her own house.
“It was really nice to put it into a business place,” Victoria said.
Victoria graduated from SUNY New Paltz in 2012 with a degree in mental health counseling. She has continued her studies here for her master’s degree and will be graduating next May. Her sister Genevieve is also studying at SUNY New Paltz for her master’s degree.
“We are New Paltz people,” Schuster said.
They have lived here for more than 20 years and only live about ten minutes from Rock Candy Vintage, showcasing the power of small businesses at New Paltz.
More information is available at: (845) 255-1090.