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Thrift On The Avenue Owners: TaNisha and R.Christopher Prater

There is a crispness in the air, and although it’s sunny outside, there is the lurking feeling that it has happened. Summer is ending, and fall is not wasting time making its entrance. And even if the dog days of summer are leaving us, fall does offer the opportunity to revamp, refocus, organize and let’s not forget layer. It’s time to “Fall Back” this week with a focus on fashion — thrift fashion.


When looking for fashion and thrifting, many of us may be novices. I know I am. With the trend of being economically fashionable an “in” thing, I know just the person to help me. It is TaNisha Prater, co-owner of Thrift on the AVE. City.Life.Style stopped by her shop to pick her brain on Thrifting 101.


Prater’s love for thrifting started 20 years ago. But when the love turned into an obsession, Prater had to figure out a way to turn her hobby into an income-making venture.


“The idea to open a thrift store came out of my passion for thrifting,” she said. “I was spending too much money in the stores, and I needed to figure out how to make my passion profitable. When my husband and I moved to Detroit from Atlanta, I noticed there was a need for our thrift boutique concept because there weren’t too many thrift stores within the city. Shortly after our move the idea for Thrift on the Ave was born.”


What is thrifting?


“Thrift shopping is exclusively shopping at thrift stores, resell stores or consignment shops. The allure of recycling for fashion’s sake is something that is becoming trending again,” she said. “Finding great items at bottom basement prices. Like one dollar for a blazer, $1.99 for a skirt can be addictive.”


Prater notes that with the increased interest in thrifting, prices have increased. However, even with prices on the rise, thrifting is still a bargain route for shoppers.

Thrift Stores vs. Consignment/Resell Shops


Is there a difference between thrift stores and resell/consignment shops?


Prater explained, “Places like the Salvation Army are full thrift stores, where most of the items come via donations versus a resell shop where most of the items are sold on consignment. You can find fabulous finds at both. Goodwill (resell store) fashions are on a higher end, similar to a TJ Maxx. Most thrift stores don’t distinguish between higher or lower end items. You have to sort through to find the gems, but the bargain prices make it worth it.”


Thrifting Tips for the Novice


  • Always look at the quality of fabric because something can look nice, but not be of high quality. You want to check the lining and type of material. It’s already pre-owned, so you need to determine how long you want it to last.


  • You also want to compare the cost to value. When I thrift shop, I am typically looking for gently used items. You don’t want to get anything that’s extremely worn or used because you won’t get as much bang for your buck.


  • Be open to what you find. I don’t think you can look for something specific because the selections can be so broad you may not find a particular piece that day. I would recommend shopping to find gems as you go along. Although if you’re a young professional building up your wardrobe or a seasoned professional revamping your wardrobe, you can always search for classic pieces, like a basic white shirt, a black pants suit.


Lastly, when you’re thrifting, you should pack your patience.


A Thrift Tips for Moms


  • Moms! Thrifting is a great way to save money and still have your little ones fashionable. Once Upon a Child is a great place to purchase kids’ clothes, especially because children grow so quickly, a lot of times it’s not ideal to invest significant funds into something they will only wear for one season.


Why shop Thrift on the AVE?


One of the things that make Thrift on the AVE unique is they are a thrift boutique. so they give extra attention to detail, making them very selective in choosing and caring for the items they sell.


“We choose our items carefully and do all the grunt work for you, so you don’t have to worry if it needs to be repaired or cleaned. We’ve already taken that step in each piece we stock.” said Prater.


When asked about how it is to work side by side in business with your spouse, the Praters have it down to a yin/yang science.


“He’s the business, I’m the fashion,” said Prater. “It works.”

Visit Thrift On The Avenue @ 4130 Cass Avenue Suite B in Detroit
Facebook @ThriftOnTheAve  (313) 649-7226

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