David Naiman has been in the thrift store business for 33 years — long enough to see fashion trends rise, fall and resurface in his shop as vintage finds.
"It's a business I always found interesting," says Naiman, owner of Thrift City USA (601 Terry Parkway., Gretna, 504-363-0006).
A native of Cleveland, Naiman moved to New Orleans 32 years ago. "I managed the (Thrift City) store at Carrollton and Tulane (avenues) for 23 years, and before that we were on Jefferson Highway," he says. "After [Hurricane Katrina], my wife and I decided to open up our own store."
Thrift City's current incarnation has been on the West Bank for seven years and has a reputation for being one of the best thrifting spots in the area. The store stands out from its competitors with its daily discounts and regular sales. There are daily specials ranging from 25 percent to 75 percent off, plus discounts for senior citizens and military personnel. On the first and third Thursday of every month, the entire store inventory is half off.
"We realize that some people have to shop at thrift stores for monetary reasons and we do everything we can to keep prices down," Naiman says. "Customers tell me we are the cheapest in the city."
Thrift City's wide range of goods changes weekly. "We have clothing, shoes, toys, books, small appliances like toasters, can openers and microwaves, furniture, glassware, kitchenware, picture frames, pictures, jewelry, CDs and albums, VHS tapes and DVDs," Naiman says.
Clothing is organized by size and type and separated into women's, girls', tots', boys' and men's apparel. There are three dressing rooms, but customers needn't worry if they're shopping for someone who isn't available to try on things.
"We have one thing that no other thrift store in the city has and that's a return policy," Naiman says. "We understand that a lot of women shop for their husbands or men shop for their children. As long as the customer keeps the tag fastened to the clothing and brings the receipt in, they get store credit for the exact amount that they paid."
The store also accepts credit cards. Naiman takes pride in his helpful staff and tidy store.
"We do everything we can to make the store as pleasant as possible and we always have nice background music going. At this time, we have Christmas carols," Naiman says. "It's just a very friendly atmosphere."