Walking into Bohemia is like when Dorothy first opened the door and stepped into Oz. It’s truly breathtaking.
Story: Bridget Broihahn
Photos: Bridget Broihahn
Walking into Bohemia is like when Dorothy first opened the door and stepped into Oz. It’s truly breathtaking. There are pops of color and interesting merchandise in every direction of the Urbana store. In some areas of the store, it looks more like an art gallery than a vintage shop.
Milea Hayes, the owner of Bohemia, takes advantage of the shop’s corner location and the immense amount of window space, giving the merchandise the benefit of lots of natural light. Hayes capitalizes on her “vintage department” experience at the former Champaign boutique, Bella, and also her love of antiques to make a different kind of store.
“I’ve always had a passion for vintage,” she said at her shop on the corner of Main and Race streets. “I like to find treasures.”
Bohemia has been open for a little over two years. The timing was perfect, too, with the upswing of commerce in downtown Urbana.
“Business is really good,” Hayes said.
She has a knack for merchandising that shows in every corner. Even those unfinished projects fit perfectly into the decor. Hayes explained that the shop changes every day while running her hand over a very large, oval, wooden table.
“I have plans for this table. I’m getting ideas,” she said.
Hayes and her husband, Jack, have a son, Jackson, and two daughters, Mollie Youngblood and Jennie Hayes. The daughters help with merchandising and the creation of merchandise in Bohemia. Mollie studied at the Savannah College of Art and Design and is an accomplished mixed-media artist and lives in Chattanooga, Tenn. She has many works in Bohemia – from mixed-media jewelry boxes and paintings to hand-painted baby “onesies” under the label “Boho Baby.” Jennie is a makeup artist and hair stylist from Nashville. She also designs repurposed jewelry for the store.
“My whole family is people who are doers. Even my brother, Doug Beck, built these displays for me,” Milea Hayes said, pointing to rolling racks made from pipe.
Time and again, the doors swing open as customers come into browse and buy. The expression of the newbie-shopper is the same as they cross the shop’s threshold: open-mouthed awe.
Bohemia not only sells upscale upcycle vintage treasures, it also has art pieces and creations that include rugs, soap jewelry, furniture, fine leather handbags, apparel, and hand painted T-shirts for babies, kids and adults. The list goes on.
“I like interesting art and we feature works from 10 different artists,” Hayes said.
Stop by Bohemia at 135 W. Main St., Urbana. Hours are: Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, go to their Facebook page or call 217-344-5000.