The newest addition to the Laura Street corridor, Grease Rags Clothing Co. owner Cindy Platt is thrilled to be part of the Downtown neighborhood. We recently chatted with Platt about her inspiration behind her new shop, and why Downtown was the only place Grease Rags would call home:
How did the idea for Grease Rags Clothing Co. come about?
For a long time, I was bothered by not being able to find things I like anywhere in Jacksonville. I also don’t enjoy buying clothing or shoes online. If something arrives and doesn’t fit, I never send it back and becomes a total waste of money. I could look around and see lots of other people wearing things I knew they could have only purchased online. I woke up one morning with the entire concept and, two months later, here we are!
Describe what your shop offers customers.
Our shop offers a unique selection of clothing and shoes for women and men as well as select home goods and personal care items. Our main focus is on the pinup/hotrod/rockabilly culture, but I have a love for anything retro. You might see the influence of punk, disco or the ’80s at any given time.
Where are you from originally, and what is your professional background?
I’m a third generation native of Jacksonville. When I was younger, I thought anywhere else would be better than Jacksonville. Now you couldn’t pay me to leave.
My background is quite varied. I have worked in the printing industry, did the obligatory stint in retail and was also a makeup artist for a number of years. Most recently, I spent 12 years at Bank of America, where I started as a personal banker. I quickly worked my way up to vice president and became a senior change manager and anti-money laundering specialist for the Global Commercial Banking division. Ultimately, I resigned due to what I thought were stress related issues, which turned out to be cancer. That’s a whole other story in itself.
Being from Jacksonville, I was very familiar with all of my options. I wanted to be in an area that had room for growth, and I was looking for a certain edgy feel. The only area that met my requirements was Downtown. When I did a search for commercial space for rent and my favorite block was at the top of the list, I knew I made the right choice.
Since opening, what have you discovered that you love about owning a shop Downtown?
I love the relationships I’ve built with the other merchants and how I never know who will walk in my door. I love seeing the growth constantly happening in the small-business arena and how there’s always something art-related to enjoy. But I think mostly I love standing outside the shop late in the evening – not really doing anything but talking with my husband or one of my fellow merchants. There’s always a breeze and music coming from somewhere. I find it very peaceful and grounding.
For those looking to open a business Downtown, what would you say to them?
I would say now is the time to do it. Get in here, and be a part of the change you want to see in our city. Without small business, all revitalization efforts will go to waste. Was I a little nervous? Absolutely! But if you don’t try, you will always wonder if it could’ve worked.
We survived our first Art Walk and are super excited about November’s Art Walk. We will have a live rockabilly band, Beau and The Burners, from 6-9 p.m. and (hopefully) some more of Lucky’s delicious cupcakes to hand out.
I hope to have our online shop up and running soon. We will be adding Switchblade Stiletto, Hearts and Roses, and Blue Q to our brand lineup by mid-November. We will continue to stock Lucky 13, Rock Steady, Sourpuss, T.U.K. Shoes and POO-POURRI.
Anything else to add?
I feel very lucky/blessed/happy to be living a life I love. None of this would be possible without the support of my loving husband, Justin Hammack. He makes my dreams come true!
For more information on Grease Rags Clothing Co., ‘like’ its Facebook page. The shop is located at 40 W. Monroe St., just off Laura Street.