With a painting of Lon Chaney Sr. as the Phantom of the Opera hanging above the register and a mounted spider on the wall, Thrift Witch frightens and entices customers with vintage and handmade oddities, art and clothing.
After succeeding in online business, Thrift Witch owner Tiesha King opened her boutique horror and vintage shop in the REO Town Marketplace in late June.
“Growing up poor, we always had the oldest of the old,” said King. “We had a lot of that ‘70s couch material that was burnt orange and earth tones. I’ve always been attracted to that and that leads into the fall Halloween atmosphere.”
“I liked to be scared at an early age — I really liked the ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show,’" she recalled.
King said her first love toward “spooky things” came from watching the “Laff-A-Lympics” Hanna Barbera cartoon.
She rooted for the Really Rottens, even though they are not supposed to be sympathetic.
Running the Dark Art of Michigan show at the Avenue Café for five years, King said a lot of art vendors found that they didn’t have a place to sell.
“I think that a lot of times bigger businesses don’t want to sell spooky stuff unless it is Halloween, or around that time of year. They really are missing the market of people that like that year-round.”
After seeing the demand from the Dark Art of Michigan project, King saw an opportunity to take advantage of a year-round market, and so far it's worked out well.
"We've almost been here a month and everybody that is part of our small little group of artists has been succesful," she said.
Enhancing the spook factor is Thrift Witch’s wet specimen collection.
“Those are for shock value: a mounted spider, rabbits in jars,” said King.
“One of the girls works for the police force, so she has to do everything by the books and she is really knowledgeable about it. That’s why I feel comfortable working with her. We don’t want to do scary stuff in the wrong way.”
Apart from the oddities, Thrift Witch has a sizable collection of used pop culture and band t-shirts.
The REO Town Marketplace was instrumental to Thrift Witch’s success, said King. “Since I’ve moved in and met all the other women in here, everyone is really smart and knows their business,” said King. “Coming from the producer’s aspect, having these guys support me is why I moved here.”
Wednesday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. REO Town Marketplace 1027 S. Washington Ave., Lansing (517) 927-7576 www.facebook.com/ ThriftWitchVintage