Thrifty grad

In its one year in Dayton, TheZe DealZ thrift shop has become much more than a place to buy used sweaters, coats and shoes. It has become a community nerve center, a place to socialize, network and pitch in to help neighbors in need. And thanks to Zontaye Richardson – known affectionately as Miss Z – it resonates with teenagers.

“You get your own style, you get to express how you want to,” said Patricia Johnson Woods, who shops at the store daily.

“It’s more about serving the community and having a fun place for people to come; a warm environment for people to shop,” said Richardson, who graduated in 2007 from Wright State with a degree in rehabilitation services. “And I treat the children just like I treat the adults.”

The thrift store is filled with racks of coats, sweaters and baby clothes — from tiny pink dresses to black fleece jackets to gray sweats. The shelves are stocked with hats, belts and purses. Shoe offerings range from brown loafers to red sneakers.

Richardson’s shop also helps the community where she grew up. The items that are not sold are donated to local housing projects and homeless shelters.

“We have grown tremendously so in the near future, possibly expansion so we will see,” said Richardson.

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