In the age of online shopping, it takes a certain type of magic to keep the brick-and-mortar small business spirit alive and kicking. And while she may humbly chalk her success up to luck and hard work, customers know that Jennifer Vosters Kaloti has that magic touch.
This summer, Kaloti celebrated a decade in business at The Recycled Closet, a Pinecrest thrift shop that caters to what Kaloti calls the “in-between” of vintage shopping… not high end and not kid’s consignment. “I called it a science project,” says Kaloti, with a laugh, of her store’s origins. “I Googled things, I wrote a business plan. I said ‘Let’s just see what we can do.’”
The store was born of Kaloti’s own desire to get rid of the clothing her teenagers were constantly growing out of, and, working in retail, it was a complaint she heard from many customers. “Back then there was none of what there is today, just eBay,” says Kaloti. “We set up shop of 138th street and people just started bringing us their stuff.”
Kaloti spent five years in that space, dealing with everything from area competitors to the eventual explosion of online thrifting, but says the competition has only made her stronger. “With other stores we’ve found a balance where we can send each other customers back and forth,” says the owner, who moved to her current space in the Falls Warehouse District in 2013. “And I really do find that people want to come in and touch things, feel them, try them on.” In fact, though an expansion into online has been in the works, Kaloti calls the process slow and steady. “We have something like 40,000 items in our store at any given time,” she explains. “To photograph all of them and get them online is a huge project.”
For now, Kaloti is happy to be a hand-on owner and says meeting her customers (who come from near and far thanks to Yelp) is a highlight of her day. “Thrifting really is a trend that just keeps growing,” she says, noting that travelers often Google her and stop in as they pass through the city. “Miami was late to catch-on but it’s becoming more and more popular. People come in and sift through the store for hours.” In addition to consigned clothing and accessories that make great shopping for holiday parties, Kaloti says she gets a good amount of party-goers looking for themed outfits and many who love to dig through her famous $5 box, where proceeds are donated to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Goods that don’t sell are donated to Chapman Partnership.
“My store is unique,” says Kaloti, who hopes to eventually find a successor to take The Recycled Closet into its next iteration. “Everything is one-of-a-kind. There’s something for everyone.”
The Recycled Closet is located at 8867 SW 132nd St. and is open Monday-Saturday from 11am-6pm. If you’re interested in consigning and would like to know more, visit www.therecycledcloset.com.