White Lobster Vintage sports racks of carefully curated vintage tees, a selection of sports gear and lots of other pop cultural ephemera.
After about five years of collecting and selling vintage clothing, footwear and sports memorabilia online via Depop and eBay, Bangor resident Chris Bryant has opened a White Lobster Vintage brick and mortar shop on Harlow Street in downtown Bangor. Credit: Sawyer Loftus / BDN

For Bangor resident Chris Bryant, half the fun of collecting and selling vintage clothing, footwear and sports memorabilia through his business, White Lobster Vintage, is the hit of nostalgia he gets when he finds something classic from his childhood.

“I love sneakers, I love a piece of classic Celtics or Black Bears gear, don’t get me wrong. But there’s just something about a Taz print from Ames that makes me smile,” the 39-year-old Bryant said, referring to the “Looney Tunes” character who adorned many a middle school T-shirt in the 1990s, and the long-defunct discount store chain that had locations all over Maine.

After about five years of collecting and selling vintage online via Depop and eBay, Bryant has opened a White Lobster Vintage brick-and-mortar shop on Harlow Street in downtown Bangor. He’s got racks of carefully curated vintage tees, a selection of sports gear, including a large collection of University of Maine Black Bears and Portland Sea Dogs gear, and lots of other pop cultural ephemera.

“I really want to keep Maine sports stuff right here in Maine,” Bryant said. “It always makes me a little sad to ship a UMaine hockey jersey off to California. I want people to appreciate Maine athletes like Ricky Craven and Paul Kariya. It’s part of the culture here.”

But among his most lucrative wares are his sneakers, which line wall-length shelves in the shop and which he spends many hours buying, selling and trading online.

“I think a lot of people don’t realize how huge sneaker culture is,” Bryant said. “When you hit on a really rare or popular pair of Jordans, it’s a big rush of adrenaline. I’ve got so much stuff. One of the reasons I wanted to open a brick-and-mortar store was I wanted to get things out of my dining room, so my wife wouldn’t divorce me.”

Bryant, a Waldo County native and father of two, has a day job as assistant coach for the Husson University men’s basketball team, and prior to that he taught science at Mattanawcook Academy in Lincoln and Bangor High School. Bryant said one of the things he taught in his science classes was sustainability, and his love of vintage and used clothing furthers his passion for that subject.

“It’s really devastating how crippling the textile industry is. It takes 2,700 liters of water to make one cotton T-shirt, and then we just throw it away when we’re done with it,” he said. “That’s why shopping vintage is really great — not only do you get something totally cool and unique, you’re making the sustainable choice as well.”

As a child of the ‘90s, Bryant loves all things pop culture from that era — from video games, commercials and cartoons, to music and sports. He gets just as excited about a vintage Starter jacket as he does a Primus T-shirt or an M&M character. Though he’s only been open on Harlow Street for about a week, he said his initial customers have felt the same way.

“There’s a lot of love for all things nostalgic, and from day one, I’ve wanted to have a place where people can come bring their stuff in and we can trade and see what other cool stuff is out there,” Bryant said. “It’s been awesome to be in downtown Bangor and bring something new to the scene here.”

White Lobster Vintage is located at 10 Harlow St. in Bangor. It’s open from 4-8 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays, as well as by appointment.

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Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.