The Nearly New Shop, a secondhand clothing store that has served the Princeton community since World War II, will close its doors for good this summer.
The store, located on Nassau Street above Redding Plumbing, first opened in 1944 to serve students and families on a budget while raising money for student scholarships for Princeton Day School. It will close July 31.
“It’s so sad,” said store manager Moira Mittnacht, whose children attended PDS. “This is an important source of affordable clothing for many people in the community who are on fixed incomes. They can walk in here and buy nice clothes at a fraction of the cost and walk out of here with a sense of pride.”
Upset by the news of the store’s closing, residents have begun to write letters to the head of Princeton Day School, Paul Stellato, to reconsider keeping the store open. Stellato could not be reached for comment about the decision to close the shop.
“This is sad and disappointing news for thousands of people who have been shopping at the Nearly New store for years and counting on this store to provide us and our families with quality and affordable clothing to survive; especially now at this difficult time in our lives when we’re struggling to put food on the table for our kids,” wrote Princeton resident Violette Chamoun. “This is the best thing that ever happened to us. Please don’t take it away.”
Princeton Theological Seminary Professor Elsie McKee said international students and scholarship students who come to Princeton depend on the store for their clothing.
“I’ve found this to be the best place in Princeton to buy clothing and regularly have recommended it to my friends and acquaintances,” she wrote to Stellato. “For some families juggling to make ends meet, new clothes for the entire family just don’t fit into the budget.”
The shop is making money and adds about 200 donated items a day to its inventory, Mittnacht said. The profits are not as high as they used to be because prices have been lowered in the tough economy, but Mittnacht noted that traffic into the store has doubled in recent weeks after Redding Plumbing let the shop put a “going out of business” sale sign and clothing on display in the window fronting Nassau Street.
Everything in the store is now half off, and starting in late July the store will begin selling clothing by the bag.
Mittnacht, who has worked at the shop for 12 years and first started as a volunteer, said one of the things she will miss most is all her regular customers. She loves the enthusiasm of donors who drop off clothes at the store, and the fact that because of them, a boy can get a blazer that would cost more than $100 at Brooks Brothers for just $15 at the Nearly New Shop.
“We’ve even outfitted a few brides in my time here,” she said.