A section of the interior of Lucky Dog Vintage on April 2. Lucky Dog Vintage has established itself inside an old brick building built in the 1950s.
A section of the interior of Lucky Dog Vintage on April 2. Lucky Dog Vintage has established itself inside an old brick building built in the 1950s.
Emily Simpson

Lucky Dog Vintage barks its way into Boone

Nestled discreetly on 1167 West King St., Lucky Dog Vintage greets customers with a unique vibe and treasure trove of hand-selected thrift finds. 

Trevor Shue, a 20-year-old entrepreneur and the store’s owner, began his journey in 2018 by reselling clothes on Depop. What started as a side hustle in high school eventually blossomed into a full-time job for him just a few years later. 

Last year, after a brief stint at App State, Shue withdrew to pursue his entrepreneurial dream. As Shue brainstormed about opening the store, he said he had an eye on Boone because he felt the town appreciates sustainability and saving the earth. Sustainability practices are a priority for Lucky Dog Vintage, Shue said. 

We started on March 4  and got everything the way it looks now in two weeks, Shue said. 

His team members Josh Morrison, Emma Barr who are both App State students, and his girlfriend Sarah Caudle, stuck by his side through the process and had confidence in what he could do, Shue said. 

Caudle spoke of how happy she is to be alongside him as he builds and creates this dream of his. 

“I am so very proud of Trevor and all that he has accomplished at only 20 years old. He inspires me everyday,” Caudle said. 

Caudle said if one is looking for premium and affordable vintage clothing that is one of a kind then Lucky Dog Vintage is the spot to shop. 

Shue attributes the quick opening to the preparation he put in months prior, buying display tables and holding clothes specifically for the opening. He also acquired the store’s counter for free and painted it himself, he said.

High-top Converse sneakers hang from the end of one of many clothing racks in Lucky Dog Vintage on April 2. Owner Trevor Shue works hard to bring in a variety of styles and sizes for his customers. (Emily Simpson)

His mom purchased the Lucky Dog sign lettering on Facebook Marketplace for around $100, Shue said. He budgeted down to the last dollar and put all he made into opening the store.

“There were weeks before we opened where I was dead broke, like I had twenty dollars in my bank account. But I mean you have to take a risk to succeed,” Shue said. 

Shue said the types of clothes he buys and resells are becoming more rare by the day because of the competitive nature of the resale market. 

“There’s a certain price tag on each item depending on the rarity, the price and how long it took to find it,” Shue said.

On the morning of the grand opening, several customers lined up outside despite the cold and rainy weather, two and a half hours before opening, Shue said. The first three customers were awarded $50 of in-store credit. 

Shue said the opening went well, exceeding his own expectations. His hard work garnered praise for the store’s appearance and items.  

Shue said folks came in and made comments like, “This is the best vintage store in Boone by far,” which was his number one goal upon opening. 

He said customers came in, purchased items and then returned the same day to buy more. 

Shue had people ask him if he was sure he should put a 5th second hand clothing store in Boone as it is tough competition, but he didn’t fret over it. 

“There could be 30 vintage stores in Boone but you could be the best one,” Shue said. “All that matters is the experience, the price point, what you have and good customer service.” 

Shue said what sets Lucky Dog Vintage apart from other stores is the quality, the curation of the items in the store and the variety of what they have. Shue prioritizes size inclusivity and making the store available for everybody. He said he prioritizes women’s pieces because they are harder to find. 

From music nights to opening up shop at the farmers market to hosting drag shows, Shue has many ideas brewing around possible future events for Lucky Dog Vintage.

He said he has a hankering to expand to anything and everything second hand including house decor, homemade candles, little knick knacks like custom lighters, tin boxes, collectibles, accessories and jewelry. 

He also hopes to grow his social media presence, including a large following on Instagram across the country.

“I want everybody to recognize what Lucky Dog Vintage is,” Shue said. 

Shue prioritizes cleanliness and organization within the store. Every item in the store is washed before it is put out.

“That’s another part of the experience, no one wants to try on a crew neck that smells like cigarettes,” he said. 

The sourcing process includes a lot of driving, time, money and curation.

“Some days I’ll find two things, and other days I’ll find 30 things,” he said. 

Shue drives near and far, from Boone all the way to South Carolina to source clothing items and sets a route and hits every single thrift store on the way to one place, he said. 

Even on days off, Shue is on the hunt for new items. He said if he’s going anywhere at any time, he makes sure to stop by at least one thrift store to ensure he is using his time wisely.

Inside of Lucky Dog Vintage on April 2. Lucky Dog Vintage is a Buy, Sell, Trade shop that opened on King Street on March 23. (Emily Simpson)

His age may come as a surprise, but he gladly bears the responsibility of being a store owner. 

“People always say ‘I regret not doing this at this age,’” Shue said. “I’d rather be 20 years old and be at the same place as a 30-year-old is at in their life.”

Morrison said he has known Shue for almost a year along with the rest of the team, and spoke of how lucky he feels to be put in a position where he genuinely looks forward to being around and learning from his boss. 

“It’s a relationship that often feels too good to be true,” Morrison said. 

Morrison was surprised to learn of Shue’s age. He said he had assumed that someone who not only had such realized ambitions, but was making them happen, had to be older. Upon discovering their closeness in age, he was even more amazed, he said. 

“That same feeling continues to stick around as he’s opened Lucky Dog; it’s more than pride, it’s a secondhand fulfillment that’s hard to articulate,” Morrison said. 

Morrison said Shue is typically behind the counter, helping customers and filling online orders, but sometimes they will get leads on bigger lots that require a full day of picking and the team goes out to clear basements, estates, yard sales and his favorite: abandoned buildings. 

Morrison spoke of the opening process and the hard labor that went into revamping the building. 

“We joked about the light at the end of the tunnel throughout the process but it really was what got us through, a belief in the store and each other,” Morrison said. “We all knew we were on to something big and we saw it through.”

Morrison said they take pride in who they choose to uplift within the community through clothing. 

Morrison said he remembers how important clothing was to the process of finding confidence within himself and finds it greatly rewarding to see that evolution in customers. 

Morrison reflected on how the store has become something physically established in a community and how he has seen the impact that has on people in even the smallest of ways. 

“From having older couples coming in to talk about the pawn shop that occupied our building when they first lived in Boone to young families on vacation, having their kids pick something that’s a tangible reminder of this place and their journey to it, it’s an experience we welcome,” Morrison said. 

Morrison expressed their love for this community in its faults and successes and they’ll continue to push for the acceptance of everyone that calls it home. After all, having a place in Boone means making a place for others, he said. 

Barr said she attributes the way the store sets itself apart from other vintage stores in town to the intention behind every aspect. It’s hard not to find something unique there, she said. 

“Our team at Lucky Dog encourages everybody to stop by to check out the shop,” Barr said. “We put so much effort into it and we’re so excited to share it with the Boone community. Everyone that comes in is welcome.”

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