AUK

Sam Salay helping a customer at the AUK Market. 

For thrift store owners the affordable clothing process can cost a lot.

Sabrina Kaar originally owned La Chua Vintage, which she ran and managed alone. The 34-year- old said all of the efforts required took a toll on her as she also balanced being a mother. To alleviate the workload she closed her store and decided to join two women, Nikki Kragiel and Sam Salay, to create the AUK Market located in the Curia Complex. 

Amy Greene, 43, opened Future Perfekt Vintage in 2017 and also struggled with management of the store. Greene said when she first opened the store she wasn’t prepared for the drastic business slowdown in summer when students leave the area.  

Lack of resources forces both owners to travel long distances to find pieces for their stores. 

Kaar said she travels to find vintage clothes for her store about once a week, while Greene travels once a month to keep her store stocked. 

“The key to this [owning a vintage store] is really traveling, like you’re not gonna be able to do this if you’re just picking local thrift stores or estate sales,” Kaar said.

The hunt to find vintage clothes has taken Greene across Florida, Georgia and Alabama, while Kaar has been as far as Virginia. When searching for vintage clothes you have to be willing to take items that are not in perfect condition, Greene said. However, she said there are some damages too serious to restore.

Greene spends money on gas, hotels for the night and purchasing clothes; yet, all of the work can still be in vain if no one buys the clothes. Greene said sometimes she only makes $1 off a piece of clothing. 

Although there is a lot of work and expenses in selling vintage, both Kaar and Greene love their job. 

Kaar said she wants to encourage more people to sell vintage or second hand. She finds it a great way to start a business despite all the hard work it takes.  

“I don’t see it as competition, I think of it more like a community coming together prop each other up. ” Kaar said.