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Lifelong Thrift will replace Red Light on Broadway

Inside the E Union store

Inside the E Union store (Image: Lifelong Thrift)

(Image: Lifelong Thrift)

(Image: Lifelong Thrift)

Be cool, Macklemore — You’ll still have a thrift shop on Broadway. CHS has learned Lifelong Thrift will take over the space slated to be left empty by Red Light Vintage’s exit from Broadway early next year.

“We are so excited about this move and what it means for the community,” said Tamara Asakawa, Lifelong Thrift’s executive director in a statement planned to be sent to media Wednesday afternoon. “We will now have so much more room to sell which will allow us to help more people. And that’s an amazing thing.”

At 12,500 square feet, the new Lifelong Thrift will be almost three times the size of the current E Union location.

Last month, CHS reported that the prospect of higher rent combined with lower than needed sales was forcing the ownership of Red Light, acknowledged as the Hill’s oldest vintage clothing store, and its neighbor sibling Aprie boutique to leave Broadway.

In addition to restoring thrift retail’s place on Broadway, the Lifelong news should help quell ongoing worries about the stretch of businesses where the Broadway Grill remains shuttered and Julia’s faced the prospect of being the only active concern on the block.

In addition to vintage and thrift clothing, Lifelong’s new space will allow for more room for furniture, household goods, “and the popular boutique section that carries more high-end designer apparel.” Plans are also underway to offer a donation pick-up service when the new location opens in early 2015.

The change continues an evolution for Lifelong as it has shifted its operations to E Pike as part of a new complex of LGBTQ-friendly-est health and culture facilities including the new Out of the Closet Thrift and AHF Pharmacy. The new Broadway store also reinvigorates its retail wing after the arrival of Goodwill on Capitol Hill this spring.

Lifelong Thrift sales “benefit Lifelong’s work delivering services to people living with chronic illnesses, including HIV/AIDS,” according to the nonprofit. In addition to its retail activities, Lifelong Thrift offers a voucher program to HIV positive people for “basic living essentials,” like warm coats, dishes, and clothes.

The current shop location on E Union has been open for 13 years but Lifelong has been doing thrift on Capitol Hill since the 1980s. It will say goodbye to E Union with an opportunity for you to donate — and get a deal when the new Broadway store opens:

The thrift store is holding a donation drive from December 15th – December 31st. Donate one bag of gently used clothing or household goods and receive a  coupon for 25% off a single item good for the opening week at the new location.  Donations may be dropped off during regular business hours at their current location at 1017 E Union Street

There is no date set yet for the re-opening of the shop but we’re told it won’t come too late in the new year. In the meantime, Red Light and Aprie continue their closing sales but have not yet announced plans for the final day of business. Red Light management said the shop may seek another Capitol Hill location.

Thanks for the tip, Joseph

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27 thoughts on “Lifelong Thrift will replace Red Light on Broadway

  1. This is excellent news! I’m so delighted that a retailer like this is taking the space.

    If I recall the news of Red Lights closing, people were so “the sky is falling, we’re going to get a bank or starbucks in the spot”. Thankfully they were wrong.

  2. Love the current Lifelong building! The back room, specifically… the street-facing facade is ugly, but I hope that doesn’t get it demolished. Tall ceilings + tons of light. Hope a restaurant/bar gets it and that it doesn’t turn into another Capitol Hill Hole.

    • Yeah, I should have included more about that building. I understand that it is or was being actively marketed and has drawn plenty of interest.

  3. it’ll be really great to have Lifelong’s store on Broadway. That puts it walking distance from my place so I can visit more often. :-)

    • I’m really jazzed about Lifelong thrift’s coming move I just hope that the “upscale” rent rates on Broadway don’t doom its long-term viability. I’ve seen too many Broadway businesses fold up because they couldn’t swing the higher rent that you have on Broadway.

      • I really hope the landlord doesn’t get too greedy with the rent. I want as much money from my donations and purchases to go to the charity as possible.

      • This is good news and certainly better than a vacancy. But I also am concerned about long-term success. Why would Lifelong make it when Red Light could not? Aren’t they basically the same?

      • No, they aren’t the same at all. Red Light sold all vintage (mostly 50’s-80’s) and seems to have gone way downhill in terms of their merchandise when they chose to open that costume room full of a lot of really janky quality stuff. Plus, people in their 20’s on the Hill don’t seem to wear much vintage these days.

        Lifelong is used clothing, most of which is fairly recent. You can find brands like JCrew, Banana Republic, & North Face, which should appeal to the new residents.

      • Lifelong seems to be a well-run business (I hope so as I donate to them) so you think they’d do their due diligence when site selecting, right?

        Perhaps they manage their money better than RL?

      • I’m not an accountant so I may be talking out of my a** here–but if the landlord rents to Lifelong at below-market rate, maybe he can take a tax deduction as a charitable contribution.

  4. It also makes the viability of Lifelong Thrift stronger in the face of competition from Out of the Closet, which is a funding source for AHF’s political work attacking HIV prevention and vaccine options.

    • AMEN. Out of the Closet is very much like Urban Outfitters. Marketing to the same people they stab in the back. I’ll continue taking my money to Lifelong.

      • Don’t forget Goodwill, too! The vast majority of winter/rain gear I own, I got from there for under $20. Good stuff, too— Columbia, North Face, Kavu, etc.

      • Crossroads would be great if they’d just organize their clothing by size like most stores do. I don’t go there because I hate spending so much time just trying to find my size.

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