Teresita, the owner of Leilani's Thrift Shop, grew up in Kauai learning the importance of recycling and community from her mother, Leilani. "When I was younger, I'd complain to my mom about dragging me to second-hand stores and tease her about bringing her own bag to shops. But now…I get it! "
When Teresita moved to Pacifica, a sleepy beach town outside San Francisco, she brought with her all of the values her mother had taught her. When she discovered that there weren't very many thrift shops in her community, she decided to open up a thrift shop of her own in 2010.
With a prime location on a busy street right across from the ocean, she named her shop "Leilani's Thrift", after her middle name and her mother's name. The cozy shop is adorned with racks upon racks of gorgeous clothing from the 1950s, 1990s, and everything in between. Shelves upon shelves play host to antique jewelry that would make any grandmother nostalgic.
In the same way that Teresita's mother taught her the importance of recycling clothing, Teresita has extended this lesson onto her five children and the young people of Pacifica. "I love it when I see high-schoolers coming by, rather than hitting up Forever 21," she said.
With her $3,000 loan from Opportunity Fund, she hopes to expand her clientele even more with the addition of a "full circle wall", where she will showcase local artists' work with recycled and up-cycled goods. "I absolutely love this one!" she gushes about a handbag made from recycled pop labels.
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