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At the Crossroads of Fashion and Affordability

Had your eye on that new Patagonia jacket but don’t want to drop the cash? Next time you go to downtown Evanston, check out Crossroads Trading Company– a vintage second-hand store that sells cheap and trendy brand-name items. 

As a college town, Evanston is home to some of the most exciting shops and restaurants. Within only a few blocks of campus, students can buy and sell their clothes at Crossroads Trading Company, a trendy vintage thrift store. Crossroads offers a wide variety of clothing and accessories, including name brand items that are practical and useful in the harsh winters. Items such as North Face jackets, Columbia vests, and Patagonia fleeces come in way below other stores’ prices. The Evanston community, especially college students with busy schedules and a limited budget have definitely noticed and benefitted by the store’s nearby location and considerably lower prices than other shops in the area.

“During Fall quarter, I used to go to Crossroads almost once every other week. However, once Winter quarter kicked in, I have gone to Crossroads a total of two times. I think it has gained its popularity because they sell well-known brands at a substantially lower price than the item’s retail price. An example would have to be Timberland boots that I bought from there. I purchased the boots for approximately $40 when the retail price is around $160, quadruple the price I bought it for,” first year Andrew Oh said.

Even as a resident of one of Northwestern’s southernmost dorms, right by Downtown Evanston, weather is definitely a factor that plays in the revenue and success of the store. When the temperature drops, students tend to just stay in their dorms and are less likely to venture farther than necessary. However, during warmer times of the year, Andrew and Northwestern students like him are able to benefit from the greatly reduced prices.

Kandise Le Blanc, a Northwestern undergraduate, agrees with Oh, noting that prices are a big reason for Crossroad’s success.

“My best purchase was a north face jacket, and it was only $26. Coming next from CA, it helped me survive Fall Quarter. I think it’s popular because the mainstream types of brand within the store attract the Northwestern demographic, but the discounted prices aid our waning college budgets,” Le Blanc said.

However, other students feel differently. “I’ve only bought one J. Crew button down for $17, which is an okay price at best” Dave Kreissman, a first year student remarked. Some suggestions he had for improving Crossroads were lowering the prices and improving the men’s selection. Andrew Oh also had some ideas about enhancing the quality and experience of Crossroads, mostly through layout and aesthetic revisions. He suggested that Crossroads should space out their store more so that people can move around freely and so that more clothes can be easily displayed.

So what keeps Crossroads in business despite some of these shortcomings? The consensus amongst these students seemed to be that although it is significantly more expensive than other thrift stores, the quality and name brand items justify the prices at times.

“In the grand scheme of thrifting, Crossroads is over priced, but once you acknowledge that they sell name brand items, their prices seem more understandable,” Le Blanc said.

Sasha Kogan, another undergraduate at Northwestern put the price scale of the store in perspective commenting that although it’s pretty expensive, it’s still significantly cheaper than other popular clothing stores nearby such as American Apparel.

Crossroads has done an excellent job providing popular brand items at much more affordable prices for years to the Northwestern community. However, as students become savvier shoppers, the demand for lower price tags will only continue to increase, either forcing prices down or decreasing business for the store.

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