July 2021 Business Feature
Located off Texas Ave and Southwest Parkway lies Uptown Cheapskate, a resale store known for its upscale, boutique-like atmosphere, friendly employees, and fashionable yet sustainable clothing. Since opening its doors in January 2020, Uptown Cheapskate has proven to be a local favorite, even winning an Eagle’s Readers Choice Award in 2020 and 2021. Cheapskate offers cash for clothes, shoes, accessories, and a complimentary donation option for clothes that they cannot take.
Craig Berlin, co-owner of Uptown Cheapskate with his wife, Lurinda McNamara, was not always in the resale profession. His knowledge of the retail apparel business began at an early age, however, with a high school job at Gap and his dad employed as an independent apparel sales representative.
“When I first moved to Austin, I was introduced to the idea of consignment, and I thought it was a really cool thing,” Berlin said. “I had a lot of clothes because I knew all the reps in Dallas, and when they had a sample sale, I would clean ‘em out.”
When his daughter left to go to college at the University of North Texas, Berlin would take his clothes to Dallas on the way to visit her and sell them. During this time, Berlin said the idea of having a business in resale first started to percolate in his mind and resurfaced years later.
“I was kind of randomly thumbing through a franchise magazine,” Berlin said. “When I saw these guys, I looked at the pictures and thought ‘that doesn’t look like the type of cash for clothes resale store that I’m accustomed to seeing’ -- and so, we were intrigued and when we went up to meet the owners, we liked their concept and that they were more focused on customer service.”
Berlin and McNamara opened their first store in Austin and eventually opened the BCS location. Out of all things, Berlin said their customer service sets them apart from their competitors.
“Customer service is absolutely our number one priority,” Berlin said. “The goal has always been to provide the same level of customer service you would get in any fine boutique that you would walk into.”
And when asked what he would say if given the opportunity to speak to the BCS community, Berlin said: “I would just say thank you.”