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Young Black business owner brings vintage vibes to downtown Corpus Christi

Jay Winfrey started his business by selling vintage items online. He now has a store in Downtown Corpus Christi and continues to grow.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — If success is defined by expansion, Jay Winfrey and his two partners are thriving with their second retail brick and mortar. 

"It's really important," he said. "There's a lot of culture downtown here. People, tourists. So they never know what to expect." 

We visited with the 26-year-old the day before his soft open along Peoples Street at Mesquite. If you're looking to buy or trade vintage 80s and 90s clothing and knick-knacks, you have come to the right place. 

"The trend's come back and the trend now is everybody loves vintage. Vintage has been going great." 

Winfrey's small business journey started out with online sales a few years ago, then turned into trunk pop-ups and grew into one store. This Flour Bluff graduate, with one year of Del Mar College under his belt, broke out and decided to capitalize on a growing trend not seen in the Coastal Bend. 

"There's always room for growth. I don't know everything at all. So, I would like to know. So far, I think I'm doing a pretty decent job but I know I could do way more," he added. 

Winfrey's path has not been all roses. He's learned to gain customer trust based on the treatment he has seen in the past simply due to the color of his skin. 

"At certain restaurants, like me and my family will go to and they just put us way in the back. I'm just like, 'yeah, yeah. I know, we all know, what that means."

From tough life lessons can come smiles such as this spin on the classic yellow smiley face which is their new logo for Vintage Nostalgic Pieces, V.N.P., created by an artist in San Antonio.  

Winfrey's take is simple when faced with opposition based on race: "People think one thing and they're closed minded. I feel like they'd be more open minded to just to anybody and anything and all the cultures. And they'll be like 'Oh, it ain't that bad.'" 

At the end of the business day, Winfrey just wants you to smile and maybe spend a little cash to support small business. 

"I tell people: 'Get a great group of friends around you and y'all can do anything!'"

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