CHAPEL HILL — The couple behind Time After Time, a longtime downtown thrift shop, says the time is right to say goodbye.
The store will close April 15, a few weeks before the lease runs out.
It’s been a great 32 years, said Annie Jackson, who owns the store with her husband, Steven Schrenzel. The couple opened the store in 1982, because Jackson said her thrift shop hobby had taken on a life of its own.
“I sold everything in my closet,” she said.
Now in their 60s, Jackson said they wanted to go out on top and do something different. She’ll probably keep selling her thrift shop finds on eBay, but there are trips they want to take and a garden that Jackson said she hasn’t had time to work in for three decades.
“It was never in my plan to do this for my whole life,” she said.
Autumn Spencer has worked at Time After Time for 12 years. She and a co-worker are the only ones left, although Jackson said they have had up to five employees at once in the past.
Spencer has crafted hand-dyed, fiberglass lampshades and sold them for years in the store. The business is moving online now to deadlynightshades.com, she said.
It’s sad to see another small, independent business leaving downtown Chapel Hill, Spencer said. She and Jackson said they’ll miss the store’s many friends and loyal customers.
“It’s always been busy, and business has been good. A lot of people have come by to say goodbye,” Spencer said.
Shoppers never knew what they might find at Time After Time, from collectible cartoon T-shirts to vintage evening dresses and Boy Scout uniforms, making it especially popular at Halloween.
Jackson said they got most of the shop’s clothes in 1,000-pound bundles from Goodwill and similar shops.
Years ago, they moved to a house in Snow Camp and put a large warehouse in their yard for storage and sorting space. They’ve been planning to close for nearly a year, so the warehouse is empty now, she said.
Jackson said she avoided shopping the thrift store racks and yard sales, because low-income folks and families rely on those options for affordable clothing. She didn’t want to sell the store to someone who didn’t have the same values, she said. It’s never been about profit.
“If you chase after the money, you’ll never have it,” she said.
Chapel Hill residents Eng Huang and Shu Houng, who bought the property with a group of friends in 2012, are considering whether to rent out the space to a new business or sell the building to interested buyers.