Thrift on the Avenue
Chris Prater, a native Detroiter and co-founder of Thrift on the Avenue (TOTA), grew up with 13 siblings and with one working parent, so thrift shopping was ingrained in his lifestyle before Macklemore made it cool. About a year and a half ago, Chris and his wife Tanisha answered an open call for a pop up store from Revolve Detroit. The couple had the idea to bring their thrifting experiences to Detroit by creating an upscale retail clothing store in their native city. They then won a $10,000 grant and Thrift on the Avenue was born.
Chris and Tanisha knew that they wanted to do business in Detroit—they wanted to be a part of the current economic and cultural boom that is revitalizing the Motor City. They are currently located in Midtown Detroit and attract a variety of customers — anyone who believes that quality clothing doesn’t have to come at a high price. TOTA does the hard labor of finding the hidden gems in thrift stores around the country including California and Brooklyn. They work hard at ensuring the quality of the pieces that they bring back to Detroit.
In the spirit of contributing to Detroit’s comeback, Thrift on the Avenue maintains active partnerships with the Coalition of Temporary Shelters and Dress for Success Michigan. A portion of the store’s profit is dedicated to support these organizations. In addition to donations, TOTA will invite women from the shelter to the store and they will receive makeovers including hair, makeup, and a new wardrobe. To spread awareness that these struggling women are individuals and not stereotypes, Thrift on the Avenue puts QR codes on its store window that links to these women’s stories.
Thrift on the Avenue heavily utilizes social media, especially Facebook and even more so Instagram. They post pictures and take advantage of social media by directly interacting with Detroiters. They believe in interacting with people to adapt and continue to improve. For example, based on customer feedback, TOTA, originally a women’s clothing store, started adding men’s clothing, and it’s been very well-received.
Thrift on the Avenue has enjoyed a ton of success and plans on opening up more storefronts next summer in Detroit, including locations in Midtown and the Avenue of Fashion. They also plan on ramping up their involvement and partnership with the Coalition of Temporary Shelters and Dress for Success Michigan. Chris and Tanisha Prater will their commitment to enable people to dress well on a budget in their native city by making Thrift on the Avenue the best it can be.