By Rebecca Henely
The recession has been a death knell for many businesses old and new, but the same is not true for Marc Pine, the owner of vintage shop Instant Replay on Austin Street in Forest Hills.
“Last year in the recession was the best year ever,” Pine said of the business at his store.
Pine owns a consignment shop, and as the economy went down, many people sold items to him while others wanted to buy the multitude of goods Pine sells — from coats to designer handbags to jewelry — at cheaper prices.
“We have unusual gifts,” Pine said. “Not what you see in the other stores.”
Pine, who grew up in Queens and now lives in Rego Park, has operated his store at 72-20 Austin St. for almost 35 years. Before he owned Instant Replay, he owned a store that sold new women’s clothing, but after a major theft at the store, he began to take in new products on consignment, which he has done ever since.
For a time, Pine bought products for the store, usually from garage sales on Long Island, where he used to live.
“I used to go to 100 sales a weekend,” he said. “But I don’t need to do that anymore. I got enough stuff.”
The items in Pine’s store can range from $2 to $20,000. He sells a variety of collectibles, from second-hand clothing to diamond and vintage jewelry. He said the biggest seller is designer handbags, and the store at one point sold out of its fur coats for the winter.
While the store is a longtime resident of Austin Street, Pine’s customers — mostly women, although men buy from him, too — often come from outside the Forest Hills area. They come from Manhattan and Brooklyn and he has even had famous customers, including a former contestant from the TV show “The Bachelor” and actress Kate Winslet. Instant Replay also sold items to the TV show “The Good Wife” starring Julianna Margulies.
“They all come in and go, ‘Wow.’ That’s the typical response to my store,” Pine said.
Pine said Austin Street has changed much since he started — there are more national chains since he began. Yet he thinks his store gives Austin Street something interesting and different.
“I honestly think that we have one of the best stores in New York City,” Pine said.
Instant Replay is open from around 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The store can be contacted at 718-544-3556.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4564.