A farewell to Main Street Exchange

‘Celebration of life’ for 18-year-old business planned for Thursday

Tori Vazquez holds Tinker the cat inside Main Street Exchange on Friday. Vazquez is closing the consignment shop next week, but is holding a “celebration of life” party first. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Marbone)

SARANAC LAKE — The Main Street Exchange consignment shop is permanently closing in a week, but before she moves the racks of clothes and Tinker the store cat out of the downtown business, shop owner Tori Vazquez is throwing a “celebration of life” party for the shop on Thursday noon to 7 p.m.

Vazquez has owned the 18-year-old business since 2021, bringing her endless energy and passion for crafting outfits to Saranac Lake.

Vazquez said it was “a series of unfortunate events” that is forcing her to close the business — ever since she moved across the street into her new storefront in June, she said there’s been a lot going on in her personal life and business life.

The day she made the announcement on Facebook, Feb. 15, Vazquez said she cried a lot. Then, believing there’d be sadness and frustration in people’s reactions, she disconnected.

She half-jokingly thought about moving.

“Because how could I show my face to all the people I love after this?” Vazquez asked.

But when she logged back on, she saw more positivity. This was “heartwarming,” she said.

“I was super surprised at how many people were wondering what I would be up to next,” Vazquez said. “I didn’t think that many people even cared.”

Kiki Sarko from the Waterhole told her to put the “fun” in funeral — but Vazquez said that means she’d have to wear black, and she plans to wear the very brightly colored tag skirt from the “Trash Couture” Earth Day fashion show she helped organize last year. So, she’s having a celebration of life instead.

Vazquez said there are so many good years and memories to celebrate.

On Thursday there will be pizza, soda, champagne and music; some select items for sale; photos hung on the walls; and Vazquez is creating a timeline of the store’s history. Even when she’s closing shop, she has to go all out.

Main Street Exchange will be open every day until then at around noon and everything is under $10.

Vazquez said she has garnered 1,500 consigners since she started, an average of 60 new ones a year. Some are more active than others. She said these consigners will either be able to take their items back or leave them as a donation.

The Thrifty and Nifty shop in Tupper Lake is accepting all of her “leftovers.”

On Tuesday, a U-Haul truck will take items over to Tupper Lake. Vazquez said helping hands will be accepted.

Vazquez is keeping the Main Street Exchange name and said she plans to become “your slow fashion headquarters.” She wants to teach people about slow fashion and sell her upcycled clothes as well as some vintage stuff. This will be less of a storefront and more of a personal business.

She also wants to travel the country and learn about fabric techniques. She’s envisioning herself driving down the highway in an orange and pink bus.

She’ll still be organizing the fashion shows she’s made a part of Saranac Lake events and has three shows lined up for this year, with the next being the “Trash Couture” show on April 8.

Vazquez said the fashion shows have been a highlight of her time at Main Street Exchange. She’s organized eight fashion shows since she started.

And she said she will absolutely be organizing the Saranac Lake Youth Center’s fashion show at Saranac Lake Pride this June. She said the kids came in so worried about their show. Vazquez said she’ll miss the Youth Center kids a lot. They often come in, tell her their problems, try stuff on and pretend they’re in movies.

Main Street Exchange was first Dorsey Street Exchange. Its founder, Barb Curtis, opened it as a thrift store on Dorsey Street in 2006. Eventually she brought in consignment and took over all three floors of the building, including where the Human Power Planet Earth bike shop and Origin Coffee are now.

For the past decade, the shop has been on Main Street. It moved across the street to its current location in the summer.

Vazquez started working there in 2018 when she was in college. After she graduated, she moved to Vermont. The stimulus checks from the federal government during the coronavirus pandemic allowed her to save up enough to finally take Curtis’ nudging and take on owning Main Street Exchange.

The work has been “fun, stressful, fun,” Vazquez said.

She loves talking with people — especially telling consigners about the history of items and passing that knowledge on to the customers. It’s also been an outlet for her creativity, crafting clothes, outfits and costumes for a variety of events.

And she loves it every time someone comes in and goes “Oh my God there’s a cat!” when they see Tinker. Vazquez said Tinker is going to miss the customers. But they’ll be able to get their pets in at the celebration of life for Main Street Exchange on Thursday.


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