Green Family Closet is celebrating its first anniversary; it opened one year ago in August.
Since then, similar modern thrifty stores have popped up nearby, which makes new owner Mwelwa Bwalya happy.
Because they give shoppers a choice and residents a chance to recycle clothing they no longer wear.
"We are excited to see these new stores open" Bwalya said. "This is going to help more people understand the [idea] of recycled clothing. The more there are the more the variety."
That's probably not the typical response you would hear about budding competition, but Bwalya aspires to make a difference in the way people view recycled clothing.
The Green Family Closet is located inside a small plaza at 3056 Burnet Ave. in Syracuse. The boutique-like shop carries merchandise that is bought through wholesales and mixed with locally recycled and gently used men's, women's and children's clothing. Inventory is priced moderately low, which Bwalya said are comparable prices to the new competitors, such as Plato's Closet and Clothes Mentor. Other secondhand items the store sells include shoes, handbags and jewelry.
Mwelwa Bwalya takes pride in the store's clean and attractive environment, and takes careful measures to provide attentive to customer service. The business has earned five-star reviews online found at local.yahoo.com, where shoppers describe their satisfaction and remark on the warmth and graciousness imparted in the store.
"We try hard to make sure our customers are comfortable, [and are] able to communicate openly and freely with us" Bwalya" said. "We know we don't have shopping carts, so if someone's got [items] in their hands, we put them in the fitting room for them."
New to the store are hair products: extensions, wigs and hair accessories.
"The hair collection is something that we've added because in the community people expressed they need a place where they can buy products for their hair," said Bwalya, who has been managing the store since May.