Swan Song for Ohio City’s ‘Unique Thrift Store’

 by Joyce Robinson

The first time I ever entered Unique Thrift Store was the winter of 2014. Even after I left the shelter March 4, 2015 and moved to Euclid, Ohio, I still continued to shop at Unique. The last time I shopped at Unique was Friday, September 30th, 2016. You can imagine my surprise when I arrived at the NEOCH offices on Monday, October 4th, to found out the store was closing four days later.

In an online article for Scene Magazine, Eric Sandy reported, “…The decision was made by the corporate office to close the store." I could understand closing a poorly performing store. However, Unique Thrift Store in Ohio City, repeatedly won Scene Magazine’s annual “Best of Cleveland” voting contest!

As a former resident of a nearby homeless women’s shelter, Unique was where I purchased a nearly new, wonderfully warm, hooded winter jacket for $13! Two years later, I still wear that wonderfully warm, but not so new, jacket! I was also lucky enough to find a set of beautiful red wineglasses, Pyrex bakeware, and a wooden serving tray, all of which I now use in my home.

One of my fellow shelter sisters had purchased a beautiful quilt for her bed, as well as a very comfortable reading pillow. After she found housing and left the shelter, she gave the pillow to me. Other shelter residents were able to find clothing items not only for themselves, but for their children as well. It was a place where you could enter with $30 and exit with a number of additional pieces to add to your wardrobe or home.

In his online article Eric Sandy also wrote “…Unique has been something of a West side landmark for decades. Rooted in the community, it's nothing short of a beacon for those who laid the groundwork of the neighborhood — and those who rely on cost-effective goods within walking distance…” Ohio City’s Unique Thrift Store will be missed.      Copyright Cleveland Street Chronicle March 2017 Issue 24#1