SCHENECTADY -- It hasn’t even opened yet, but there is already a buzz around Dave Monty’s new thrift store on Crane Street.
“We’ve had close to 200 people come in and ask when we’re opening.” Monty said. “We told them we’d let people know when we do, and they said they’d be back.”
The store is called Bit’s n Piece's II. It’s a store where people can buy new and used household items at a fair price, according to Monty. All of the merchandise was purchased by Monty at storage unit auctions and estate sales.
The store was once the home of Marcella & Son Appliances. After Marcella’s moved to its new location on Broadway in 2010, the Crane Street space was used as a thrift store by Monty’s longtime friend and "partner in crime" at the storage unit auctions, Russ Lockenwitz. He was leasing the spot from John Marcella, Monty said.
Monty took over the lease when Lockenwitz died from cancer in March, and he set about filling it with the goods he purchased at auctions.
A photo of Lockenwitz hangs on the wall over the register, which Monty refers to as “The Wall of Fame.”
“I miss him every day,” Monty said.
Before Marcella’s, the building was occupied by the Knickerbocker Furniture Store. Since Monty moved in, he discovered that one of the items in his store actually had a connection to the previous furniture store -- a hutch Monty purchased at an estate sale. While setting up his store, he went through all of the drawers and found a receipt for the hutch that said it was once purchased from Knickerbocker’s Furniture Store.
“It made its way home after 30 years,” Monty said.
The hutch, along with a dining room set, is one of many items for sale from the new store. In addition to furniture, the offerings include DVDs, shoes, clothing and other items.
The building's large basement is also filled with items Monty has purchased at storage unit auctions. He said he hasn’t been able to go through most of what's stored in the 8,000-square-foot space.
Monty said he wants to make the goods available at affordable prices, to give residents of the Mont Pleasant neighborhood an alternative to more expensive retailers.
Monty is also offering a layaway option, through which customers can put a down payment on an item, that he then marks as “sold” until the customer can pay for it.
“I want to have Mont Pleasant residents purchase nice items that won’t cost them an arm and a leg,” said Monty, who is a Mont Pleasant resident himself.
Mont Pleasant Neighborhood Association President Pat Smith was pleased to see Monty getting ready to open the new business.
“He’s catering to the people of the neighborhood, and that’s what we need,” Smith said.
This new thrift store will hopefully be a catalyst for new businesses in other vacant storefronts in the neighborhood.
“This is the opposite of broken windows,” Smith said. “This is the repaired windows.”
Monty said he hopes to open the store in a couple of weeks.