Well, aside from the obvious fact that we needed one to put on the sign out front—our name is our inspiration.
Unless you’re a telemarketer with a really bad call list, please don’t call asking to speak with Walt Grace. He’s not a real person—well, at least not real in the literal sense of the word.
The simple answer as to where our name came from is this: Walt Grace Vintage was named after a character from a song by John Mayer, called Walt Grace’s Submarine Test, January 1967.
The long answer is best told by our founder, Bill Goldstein, who was inspired to— as the character from the song—follow his own dreams and, well—build his own submarine.
MY STORY IS NOT UNIQUE
“After nearly 25 years in the advertising business, I found myself in desperate need of change. No matter how “successful” I was, or how great things seemed from the outside, true success—and my own happiness— continued to elude me. Sure, I had all the spoils of a successful career, but the further I progressed professionally, the further I was moving away from my own fulfillment. I guess it’s just the nature of the beast—the more successful you become at what you do for a living, the further away you get from the thing that inspired you to do it in the first place.
So here I was, at 44 years old—I was healthy, had a beautiful family, an amazing home; a bunch of cars (and even more guitars), and still, with all of that, was miserable. I (and everyone around me) knew something needed to change, and it didn’t take a rocket scientist to see that it was work that was making me feel this way.
But what was I supposed to do? I was an ad guy—I had always been an ad guy—wasn’t I supposed to always be an ad guy?
I spent months feeling this way—falling deeper and deeper into my funk. It was bad, and was affecting everyone around me. To say I was unpleasant to be around is the understatement of the century. If you had an ear, you were pretty much guaranteed to get it filled with my quandary and just how lost and unhappy I felt.
Then one day—no, one moment—actually, one song changed everything for me. I was in the shower, feeling (as you probably already guessed) extremely down and racking my brain for what was next. And then, in an instant, everything changed, forever.
A song began playing. A song about a man. A song about a man, who, like me, was “desperately hating his old place” and “dreamed to discover a new space”. This sounded very familiar to me. Familiar, but not exactly like me. Because, unlike me, the man in the song knew that— despite what anyone else thought or said—all he needed was “a will to work hard and a library card” and he could change his world. In all fairness, this wasn’t an entirely new concept to me. After all, this was the story of my life—I was the guy with the crazy ideas, who always believed in himself when others didn’t, and ended up (for the most part) on top.
The one thing that I didn’t think of, and this is the clincher, was that “When you’re done with this world… the next is up to you.” Pretty simple concept, huh? Think about it for a second. We are all masters of our own universe, and if something doesn’t feel right—just change it. It really is that simple. The hard part is trusting yourself and just going for it. Don’t just settle because it’s what you’re supposed to do—or, because somebody (or everybody) tells you that you can’t.
Follow your heart, let passion be your guide—work hard and believe in yourself—find your submarine, and just go for it. Because when you’re done with this world, the next (really is) up to you.”
“And for once in his life, it was quiet
As he learned how to turn in the tide
And the sky was aflare when he came up for air
In his homemade, fan blade, one-man submarine ride” – Walt Grace’s Submarine Test, January 1967 —John Mayer