Since 2006, husband-and-wife team Bill and Lori Goodpasture have managed the store, where they also work as vendors, traveling across the Midwest in search of vintage gems.
“We’re not a museum,” Bill said. “We try to double our money. ... And in doing so we can find it inexpensively, we sell it inexpensively, and it keeps the inventory moving.”
The store opened in 1981 and focused on pieces from the art deco era. Today, it specializes in pieces from the 1950s through ‘70s sourced by eight full-time vendors.
“This is everybody’s full-time job. Not one hobbyist,” Lori said.
The biggest challenge, Lori added, is keeping the store stocked. Pricing things affordably means inventory turns over quickly.
“I think the charm of Room Service is that it’s ever changing,” Bill said.
Some customers stop by the store a couple times a week, but the Goodpastures also post many pieces on the store’s Instagram account, which Bill said “has been a huge game changer.”
While the business may have evolved, the couple has a long history on which to draw.
“One of our first dates we went shopping together,” Bill said.
The couple met the owner of Room Service Vintage shortly before they married, in 1999, and spent their honeymoon shopping for vintage pieces to bring back to the store.
“The reason that people have an affinity for vintage is it’s not everywhere,” Lori said. “But not only that. Durability is huge. You move an Ikea piece two times and you’re risking it falling apart, whereas this stuff was made to last.”
Many customers, the couple said, appreciate this sustainability.
“We are super lucky to live and have this perfect freak storm in this city,” Lori said. “There’s something about Austin and people trying to keep Austin alive. We’re like that little bit that’s left ... that’s like old Austin, and on top of that we’ve got such environmentally conscious people. I mean, why would you buy new? There’s no reason.”