By Kevin Collison
Arizona Trading Co. is opening its biggest store in the East Crossroads this summer and for co-owner Venus Nichols, it’s a return to familiar territory.
“It’s such a wonderful place,” she said. “I used to perform with a band (Stretchmarks) at The Brick. There’s was nothing there back then. To see the growth is wonderful.”
The business that specializes in buying and selling quality used clothes opened its first shop in Lawrence in 1991. It’s first Kansas City outlet is at 205 Westport Road.
The new place at 1722 Oak will occupy a 5,000 square-foot building that formerly housed Midwest Acoustics. It will be the largest of the three Arizona Trading shops and comes at a time the trade in vintage clothing is booming.
“We buy, sell and trade clothing and get so much clothing all the time,” Nichols said.
“There’s definitely been an uptick in the used clothing market because of increased environmental awareness and the importance of recycling.
“We get so much clothing we don’t have enough space. It was time to grow and expand and give people more opportunities to sell to us.”
Nichols said the search for a second Kansas City location began awhile ago, and she and her partner, Jennifer McKnight, were delighted to find a building that met their needs.
“We wanted a place that was stand alone and had better parking options,” she said.
The building had been vacant for awhile and also was windowless. The landlord agreed to remodel the structure and add big storefront windows facing Oak Street. About 4,000 square-feet will be used for retail.
“We have a pretty vast inventory and price range, and we like to cater to a lot of different styles,” Nichols said.
Clothing items sell from $1 to $100, with the bulk less than $20. The store also features a dollar rack.
The new East Crossroads shop plans to have an open house with free pizza on the next First Friday, July 7. After that, the partners plan to roll up their sleeves and begin stocking the shop with an eye toward opening for business before the end of July.
Hours will be Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
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