Lower East Side Vintage and Thrift on the Outs?

Posted on: August 2nd, 2010 at 6:27 am by

Discourse about the death of thrift shops and vintage stores is back on the table. An article published over at Crain’s this weekend, dubbed Vintage Stores out of Fashion, profiles a few recent neighborhood closures, including the loss of The Sweet Ones on Allen in June. Many in the industry are not only blaming the recession but Ebay and Etsy, the online vintage marketplace.

On Sweet Ones:

In June, Alyssa Pallett shut down her dream business—an 1,100-square-foot vintage designer-clothing store on the Lower East Side’s Allen Street—after less than 10 months of operation.

Ms. Pallett of Sweet Ones was having trouble breaking even and ended up for-feiting her $25,000 five-month deposit when she closed up shop in June. She, too, expects the vintage market to move online, with physical stores acting more like small showrooms.

On Marmalade:

High rents forced the Lower East Side’s Marmalade to concede defeat earlier last month. Ms. Kurland had been paying nearly $4,000 a month for her 1,500-square-foot shop, but in 2009 the rent doubled, thanks to the high-end residential developments under construction on her block. As sales fell 40% as a result of frugal shoppers, Ms. Kurland was forced to put up “Closing Sale” signs in the windows of her 11-year-old shop.

On Etsy:

“The prices on Etsy kill me,” says Ms. Weiss [of Beauty Crisis], referring to competition from the Brooklyn-based online marketplace that has taken the retail world by storm during its five-year existence. “It started as handmade, but now there are over 100,000 vintage items listed there.”

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