Aug 05, 2020
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Ragtime


Juan Villa / The Collegian

Local Thrift Stores

Retro Rag, a secondhand store with flare located in Tower District, is having the best sales month of the year. Why, might you ask, because it’s Halloween.

For fifteen years, the first vintage store in Fresno has doubled its earnings during the month of October.

The store, which is located in the heart of the Tower District next to Bobby Salazar’s restaurant, caters to “the tower crowd,” said Laura Ballard, store manager.

In the store, you can find anything from a sexy cop uniform to a ’70s-style purple chiffon dress. Next to the dress, there are 50 other ’70s garments and a box filled with colorful shirts that are sold at three for $15.

She makes it clear that they are not a thrift store.

“We are a vintage store,” Ballard said. “We hand-pick everything and put them on the racks one by one.”

Ballard explained that Retro Rag is a costume-type store, but without thrift store prices. Items range in price from $10 to $30.

Regular customers, like Ballard and many high schools students, keep the vintage store in business, but customers also come in looking for costumes.

“We have everything sorted out by era,” Ballard said. “On one side, we have styles from the ’70s and in another, from the ’80s.”

Although they have clothing from several decades, they do not go far back enough for Benita Jatton, a first-time shopper looking for a costume for her daughter.

“I was looking for old-fashion pieces,” Jatton said. “My daughter is going to a party with clothes from the 1800s, but we’re in the new millennium.”

Jatton said her daughter may be going to the party in ’70s clothing as she turned away and asked the manager for a skirt similar to the Partidge Family-style with flares.

Like many customers, Jatton discovered the store as she was driving by.

“We do not advertise. We never have,” Ballard said. “I don’t know why, but it seems like we don’t need to.”

Ballard has been working in the store since she was sixteen years old. Now, she and another employee run the store alone to allow the owner time to run their online-based company on eBay.

In the front of the store they have new items, as well as modern-day costumes. These are items that the store manager thinks will appeal to younger people, but at least one eleven-year-old found treasures in the back of the store.

Ally Brenner was sorting through the hangers as she looked for pieces to make her costume for an upcoming Halloween party.

“I am looking for a tulle skirt to dress up like an ’80s person,” she said.

It was the second time she and her mother had been to Retro Rag, but looking for costumes is not the only reason she goes to Retro Rag.

“I’ve always liked vintage,” Brenner said. “This is where I get my t-shirts. I have a real cool Wonder Woman one, — my favorite.”

The store is open everyday and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., except Sunday when it closes at 5 p.m.

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