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How FutureRetro puts a fresh nostalgic spin on shoe stores
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Michael Vaughn is co-owner of FutureRetro Lifestyle Shoes and Clothing in Buford. “Whether people are shopping or not, we want them to come because it’s a cool place to hang out,” Vaughn said. “The idea of having a space that would entertain people as well, was where this concept came from.” - photo by Austin Steele

As if transported to the ‘80s and ‘90s, people experience a wave of nostalgia when they see the arcade games, comics and old movie theater seats sprinkled throughout FutureRetro Lifestyle Shoes & Clothing.

The store, located in Buford, offers an experience that can’t be found in a mall or the average retail store.

“Whether people are shopping or not, we want them to come because it’s a cool place to hang out,” Michael Vaughn, co-owner of FutureRetro said. “The idea of having a space that would entertain people as well, was where this concept came from.”

Micheal, who owns the business with his wife, Lindsay, said the idea of the store was to incorporate new trendy items with the nostalgia of the ‘80s and ‘90s. They officially opened FutureRetro last September.

All of the sneakers the store carries involve lifestyle brands for typical everyday and street wear.

Some of the old-school brands include Keds, Saucony and Tretorn. FutureRetro also carries shoes from ASICS, Vionic and Munich, which is a brand from Barcelona.

Michael said he recently secured a deal with Fila and is in the process of obtaining shoes from Adidas Outdoor and New Balance.

Since FutureRetro is a startup business, many giant brands like Nike and Puma won’t open a new account unless the store has been in business for a year. Michael said he aims to start accumulating more brands as the store builds its reputation.

Unlike many shoe stores, FutureRetro will seek out shoe color combinations that customers request, and also place orders if someone can’t find their size.

Across the store from the sneakers, people will find hats, hoodies, jackets and T-shirts with retro pop-culture prints like “He-Man,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and “Saved by the Bell.”

People can sit back, read comics and play on an Atari in the shop’s Wifi Lounge. The lounge additionally includes a DJ booth, where Michael will play music throughout the day.

To the right of the DJ booth lies a brightly colored arcade game. Providing a blast from the past, it offers games like Pac-Man, Galaga and Donkey Kong.

Michael and Lindsay strive to build relationships with the community through hosting family nights, movie marathons and other events.

“The thing that matters the most is getting the customers in here and providing them with the atmosphere, service and experience that when they leave, they want to come back,” Lindsay said. “We want our customers to feel like they’re our only customer.”

FutureRetro’s next event will take place a day before the Super Bowl on Saturday, Feb. 2. Lindsay said the day will involve all of the non-football aspects of the Super Bowl like watching a collection of its commercials.

In addition to owning a business and working as the store’s only staff, Lindsay homeschools her kids and Michael continues his role as the marketing director for Wing Zone, an Atlanta-based restaurant chain.

To balance their chaotic schedule, Michael shifted to working remotely and Lindsay will often bring her kids to the shop.

After working for many franchise business owners, Michael said he developed a desire to become his own boss.

Having a passion for sneakers since childhood, he knew that he wanted to open up his own take on a shoe boutique.

Michael said he noticed a lack of sneaker shops in Buford that carried unique brands mostly found at shoe boutiques in Atlanta, New York City, Chicago and other larger cities.

Over a couple of years Michael created a business plan, and pitched his idea to friends and multiple business owners. After receiving the encouragement and validation from his wife and others, he decided to make his vision a reality.

Lindsay said one of the main catalysts of opening the business sparked from the death of Michael’s mom.

“We’re getting older, we’re in our 40s and this has been something we’ve talked about for a long time,” she said. “You don’t live forever. It was time to stop dreaming and take the steps to make it happen.”

Five years from now, the owners hope to expand into another city and start a mobile store, which can be transported to local events. As for the distant future, Michael said he would love to open up a FutureRetro clothing and shoe brand.

For now Michael and Lindsay will continue growing their store’s items and welcoming customers to pop in and see what FutureRetro has to offer.

“I just want people to know that they can come in here just to say, ‘Hi,’” Lindsay said. “We have a cool atmosphere, we’ve got music going and it’s a great trigger for nostalgia. We’re kind of tucked away, but I think when people come in, they’re going to have a good time.”

People can visit FutureRetro at 1651 Horizon Parkway, Suite 800 in Buford. For more information about the store visit or follow @futureretrousa.