This Pre-Owned Shop Provides Clothing and Connection

A shop that people can call their own.

Jan 7, 2022
This Pre-Owned Shop Provides Clothing and Connection | A shop that people can call their own.

Clothing shopping in a trendy thrift store can be a pleasurable experience. Hunting for the perfect vintage dress or accessory and finding exactly what you are looking for or something that you never considered wearing before, can make your day.

But, for many transgender, non-binary, or gender expansive people, finding clothing that fits and is affordable isn’t that easy. Finding a safe and comfortable place to try on clothing is even more difficult. That’s why Margie’s closet located in Ohio on the Lakewood/Cleveland border is really a treasure. According to CleveScene, the new thrift store that is designed for the LGBTQIA+ community is the first of its kind in Ohio.

Margie’s Closet
The store, which opened in June 2021 – just in time for Pride Month – carries hard to find sizes in underwear and shoes, binders, as well as essentials like wigs at little or no cost for the community.

“Some folks may see something like a retail store as a small step, but for those in the trans community, it's a big deal,” Jacob Nash, the co-founder and president of Margie's Hope (an organization dedicated to assisting transgender and nonbinary people), told CleveScene. But Maggie’s Closet ( named for Nash’s mother) is much more than just a place to shop for clothes.

The clothing is not gendered – there are no men’s  or women's sections and only sizes are listed according to Cleveland Magazine. But more importantly, there are gender inclusive restrooms and dressing rooms at Margie’s Closet.

The idea of the thrift store actually came to Nash from listening to questions from people in the community and when a friend offered to donate clothing, he decided to open a pop-up event, Nash told Good Morning America.

The event was so successful that Nash was inspired to open the brick-and-mortar store. He found the perfect location at Studio West 117; which was created specifically for the LGBTQIA+ community.

More Than Just a Thrift Shop
Margie’s Closet is much more than just a shop, it is a community. A voucher program will provide $25 a month to people who need the extra help. The store operates with a volunteer staff and all of the proceeds will go towards other Margie’s Hope programs.

“Our slogan goes, ‘building community one piece of clothing at a time,’ because it's not about the clothing as much as it is building community, building family, building relationships and serving the population that is most needed,” Nash said. 

“If that means we give away product, then we give away product because it's more about the people than it is about the money.”

The response from the community has been very positive and there are people shopping in the store who are not transgender or nonbinary but who want to show their support. “We realized that we can't do this by ourselves, and the community realized that we can't do this by ourselves, so everyone's been really helpful,” said Monika Veliz, a manager of Margie’s Closet. The shop has become a supportive community for all.

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Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.