How a Unique Piano Lead to Learning About a Unique Jefferson, Texas Business
East Texas has a vast array of locally owned businesses. From clothing boutiques to electronics and appliances to great tasting food, there's not much that our local businesses don't offer. Stopping by and spending any amount of money is a huge win for those small business owners. For those in Jefferson, EmBear's Vintage is probably known by most everyone. It took a unique piano for me to learn about this very unique East Texas owned business.
Earlier this week, I was scrolling through the Whataburger Fanatics Facebook group. What can I say, I love Whataburger. One picture stood out to me, though, of a piano painted in Whataburger colors. In the comments I learned that this piano is at EmBear's Vintage in Jefferson.
That piano is so cool that I had to find out more about this East Texas business. I found their page on Facebook and immediately could see how unique EmBear's Vintage is in East Texas. I had to find out more about them and what they do so I reached out to the owners Bear and Emily so I, and you, could learn more about them.
Give our listeners a general rundown of EmBear’s Vintage and what y’all do…
We are a 3100 sq. ft. custom boutique located in Jefferson, Texas started by myself (Bear) and my wife Emily hence the name EmBear's Vintage with a small staff of us as well as our 3 sweet girls (Sarah, Kendall, and Shyann) and conveniently located next to one of East Texas' best BBQ joints Riverport BBQ. We specialize in custom T-shirts, women's clothes and some men's clothes as well. We are known for our decor in our store and literally have people drive in strictly to see our decor as well as enjoy our live music and free frozen margaritas (which has unfortunately slowed down post Covid but we hope to pick back up where we left off soon). In the last couple of years we have even become a popular spot for Senior pictures from all around East Texas with our wild and crazy colors, decor, and pianos. At the end of the day we are just a fun laid back store where we love to have any excuse to throw a party and our customers become friends and a few have even turned into family.
You have the unique hobby of collecting pianos. What brought on this hobby?
I myself love music, I play guitar but there's just always been something that has intrigued me about pianos. When we got our first one it was a small upright and we painted it hot pink and we let people sign it with a sharpie. That was our first ever "guest book" then we just started adding which has been a fun experience watching all of our sweet customers search for their name every time they come in. When it comes to pianos a lot of people don't want them after awhile and they just want them gone and they'll give them to us. We have the capability to pick them up and we also have the capability to store them at our main shop at our house until we figure out what our next crazy piano idea is.
I reached out to you because I saw a picture on social media featuring a piano painted with a Whataburger theme. What gave you the idea for this custom paint job?
We always love to be different, I was actually leaning towards just a straight purple for this one and let people sign it in silver paint pen when a good friend of mine said "You need to do it in Whataburger colors!".
We collect Americana and fast food merchandise as well so it just made sense and everyone has enjoyed it so far. You never know what new stuff we might have added anytime you visit. We always try to keep adding more and more to keep you guessing.
Talk about the piano you have that you use as your “guest book”…
The current baby grand piano that we let people sign is a 1910 Wurlitzer, we painted it turquoise with hot pink leopard spots and people LOVE to sign it and bring friends in to show off their signatures.
I like the signed pictures of John Ratzenberger and Ed Asner you have on the EmBear’s Vintage Facebook page. Do you have any other memorabilia like that in your store?
Our store is full of memorabilia, it's our way of keeping the past alive! We have people come in who are in their 70's and 80's and they'll actually thank us for having things that they remember from their youth. We have autographed pieces from musicians such as Chuck Berry, John Lee Hooker, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bo Diddley and even current artist such as Joe Bonamassa, Waka Flocka Flame, and Emily's favorite Vanilla Ice! Once I finish framing more things we'll have pieces from the golden age of Hollywood to a personal outfit owned by Little Jimmy Dickens.
Y’all have some really cool tumblers for sale. Are those available for anyone to buy in your store or are they custom printings?
When it comes to the tumblers we can do just about anything, we are capable of doing corporate tumblers for promotional items to just a single tumbler with whatever you may want on it. Our tumblers are one of our newest additions and have quickly become a favorite staple in the store.
Y’all seem to be very involved in the Jefferson community. What events do y’all like to be a part of?
We are always game to participate in any events Jefferson has in some way or another. We have always tried to add live music to any current events that might be going on as well as started a few of our own. The last two we hosted was our Boo on the Bayou Trunk or Treat along with The Port Jefferson Outpost that was a completely free event for the community with a cash prize costume contest as well as a cash prize for the top 3 decorated trunks as well as our Pardi Gras last year which we are gearing up to have again this year!
Thank you to Bear and Emily for talking with me. If you want to find out more about EmBear's Vintage, check out their Facebook page or stop by their store at 203 N Polk Street in Jefferson.