It began while I was taking a stroll down my favorite street, Ninth Street, in the heart of Columbia, Missouri. This street homes the famous blue note, where for years has been a hub to many great performers ranging from blues, rock n roll, rap, country, and alternative music, it’s an amazing venue. Next to that, stands one of my favorite coffee shops in the world, Coffee Zone, where you can get a delicious cappuccino, caramel macchiato, or some Turkish coffee. They also have some of the best desserts to offer that will melt in your mouth, while enjoying your java. This town is my getaway of getaways. I feel like I’m on a vacation every time I’m there, every turn of a corner in this unique downtown area lays mystery, peace, and beauty that are just waiting to be discovered.
It was about ten o’clock in the morning, I was waiting for a friend while sitting outside enjoying my coffee watching the steam rise in to the crisp, warm air and I looked over and noticed an open door and a hint of gold glitter that shimmered from the sun, this instantly caught my eye. I immediately got out of my chair and went to investigate just to see what business this could possibly be. I looked inside, there was a beautiful gold, glittery staircase and there was graffiti all over the walls, the steep hallway had seemed endless to the top. I felt as though I was Indiana Jones, like I discovered something magical. I began to follow this glittery, yellow brick stairway, into the Land of Oz, that is Leo’s.
As soon as I stepped foot at the top of the steps, there was a mecca of amazing thrifty stuff that just blew my mind. I knew then that this was gold. I thought to myself, “This is awesome! I love this stuff. This is so cool!” The first thing I saw was a mannequin with a gas mask on. Next, I saw a cat perched on top of the counter. It was just the chilliest place you could ever see. There were vintage hats, coats, wigs, old vinyl records, and a massive amount of shoes. It was just “wow”, it was breath taking. It was one of the most eclectic shops I have ever been to. So, I spent time shooting throughout this store for hours, I was consumed by waves of inspiration and creativity. After a few shots, I decided to do a project because I felt that everyone should see what a prized gem I found in the midst of a small town.
After I finished shooting, I spent a few moments chatting with the owner, his heart and passion is to travel across the world to find interesting things for his patrons to purchase and enjoy. Throughout his time traveling he became a quick collector of vintage and surplus clothing, shoes, and random vintage décor. Never in the market to buy clothing from customers, as many vintage stores do, the Leo’s owner, on the other hand, prides himself on finding everything that he sells or rents in random locations from around the world. With a knack for hoarding, in the year of 1972, Leo’s soon became the ideal place for him to keep everything he finds, while making a little profit. In the meantime, while he is at his store he is usually restoring clothing that he finds using his sewing machine or bringing in new things that he has found.
Take the time to explore the things around you, you don’t want to miss out on the magnificent things and opportunities that could be right in front of your eyes.
Here is my journey through this amazing maze of vintage.
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