Thriftamore: Edition 4 – Urban Renewals Relocation

Like many of you, we were devastated to hear that Urban Renewals would be closing. And our sadness was only mildly diminished with the knowledge that the store was not in fact closing, but moving to Roslindale.
The classic thrift store closed its location on Allston’s Brighton Avenue in early December. Our personal favorite from the neighborhood, the store offered very low prices, frequent sales and fantastic selections for everything from clothing and shoes to books and furniture.
The store’s new location, which opened recently on American Legion Highway in Roslindale, checks each of the boxes the old location did. The signs are the same, the sales are the same, the cash-only policy and lack of dressing rooms are the same. The prices are as low as ever, and the selection seemed somehow even broader than in the past. The store was also undoubtedly cleaner and more organized than the old one had been.
However, there were certainly downfalls. For starters, the location: Urban Renewals is now part of a strip mall. Nearby stores include other dollar and discount stores, such as L&M Bargain store, Save A Lot grocery and Super Dollar. There’s considerably more parking than on Brighton Avenue, but it’s a 15 to 20 minute drive from the high school.

PHOEBE KALLAHER/SAGAMORE STAFF
Urban Renewals’ new Roslindale location retains many of its cherished qualities.

Furthermore, the store is almost completely inaccessible by public transportation. The #14 bus stops only a two-minute walk away, but only runs on the hour. This means that even the quickest route from the high school takes at least an hour and involves changing buses twice, with a short walk between each bus ride.
Finally, more than anything, the vibe just wasn’t the same. The old Urban Renewals was comfortable, a neighborhood establishment brimming with nooks of cherished items. The new store is one large square, with slightly too bright lighting and music playing a little too loudly.
Since it is so inaccessible by public transportation, there’s really no possibility to go and just walk around, so customers seemed to be there with a goal in mind. A good thrifting experience goes beyond shopping and is also about socializing and walking around, something that was very easy to do at the old Urban Renewals. Without the ability to easily come to the store, that freedom is gone, making the purpose of the store function over fun.
The new location is far from everything the old Urban Renewals was. But for people for whom Urban Renewals was a wardrobe staple, don’t worry, you can still get good things at new one.