When Sam and Monique Azlant decided it was time to leave Lake Tahoe and relocate, they drove up and down the California coast looking for just the right town.
“We wanted community, good schools for our three kids, and a place where our business would thrive,” said Monique. “Petaluma seemed like the perfect fit. So far, we love it here.”
The couple leased the building that formerly housed a western apparel store at 216 Petaluma Blvd. North and opened their shop, , in early 2011.
The idea for the store, which is part retail and part exchange, came about through a dream Monique had. “I had a dream in which I opened up this type of store,” said Monique, “even the name came to me in the dream.”
Monique left her career as a juvenile hall counselor and Sam gave up a job in insurance. “We both wanted to do work that felt good and made us happy,” she said. Her husband, Sam, agrees, “Even though it’s a lot of work, I love being self-employed. I can’t imagine going back.”
What stands out about the store is its welcoming, cheerful vibe. The Thrifty Hippy is not your typical second-hand store. Monique has a good eye for merchandising and the place feels like a combination hip clothing-furniture-tchotchke store.
The Azlants run their business a bit differently from a standard retail operation. In addition to retail sales they also exchange store credit for merchandise.
“People bring in items that they no longer use and we give store credit so they can leave with something they really need," Monique said. "It’s a great way to recycle goods.”
Another unique aspect to the shop is that they offer free children’s clothing. “I was a young mother and know what a struggle it can be,” said Monique. “We have a room full of children’s clothes and merchandise that is free to those who can use it. I think it’s important to give something to the community.”
The store is chock full of merchandise: books, bric-a-brac, tapestries, clothing, shoes, music and has a basement full of furniture. The shop also carries some jewelry by local artists. It's all part of the owners’ plan to keep it local and support the community in which they live.
Furniture, which is taken on a consignment basis, and items to be exchanged, can be brought to the store, preferably on weekdays, during business hours.
The Thrifty Hippy is open Tues–Thurs 11am–7:00pm and Fri–Sun 11am–8pm. The store is located at 216 Petaluma Blvd. North. Phone 707-765-1752
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