Turning Passion into Business: Richie’s Riches Vintage Store

Located in the heart of Fountain City, brand new small business Richie’s Riches Vintage Shop is now a brick-and-mortar store. Owned by Central alum Bryson Richie, Richie’s Riches buys, sells and trades clothes from the 80s, 90s and older. Richie always had a passion for vintage clothing, but never imagined passion could turn to business at 19.

Richie standing next to his Broadway storefront.

Richie was introduced to thrifting in elementary school when his mother would take him shopping for his little sister. Then in fifth grade, he discovered YouTuber Paul Cantu, who inspired him to find clothes that he could not only wear, but sell.

“In the beginning, I only went thrifting… for myself, for cool clothes for cheaper” he said, but as he entered high school, he began to sell clothes online for profit. Balancing school, a social life and his new passion of selling clothes, Richie would thrift any time he could. “I already had a part-time job, so any day that I didn’t go to work right after school I had a circle of thrift stores I would do in Knoxville, three times a week” (Knoxville News Sentinel).

For him, the end goal was always to have a space where he could bring his business to life. He said that “the process was very unexpected,” and though he had been looking for a building, he wasn’t sure he would find one in his price range as a young adult.

Through his neighbor Suzy Collins, who owns HighLight Studio next door, he was able to discover that Custom Shoe Rebuilders was selling. It was a building in his budget, in his preferred neighborhood and a way to jump-start his small business career.

Richie and Bowers at Thrift Con Atlanta (Photo Credit to Berkeley Bowers and Bryson Richie)

Speaking of jump-starting his career, Richie believes that thus far, he has achieved success. “There are different meanings for successful, but I’m still open, my bills are paid and I’m happy.” He has been able to do what he loves full time and believes that you have to “sell what you like” and “you can’t just sell what’s trendy.” By following that advice, Richie has achieved his definition of success.

Through everything, he has been motivated by not only himself, but also his girlfriend Berkeley Bowers. Also a Central alum, they have been together for almost two years now, being friends since the beginning of high school. Richie says that he has seen “the deep hole that opening a business puts you in.” Bowers has seen him in every step of the process and has supported him through everything, no matter what.

Graduating from Central in 2021, Richie has made his dreams come to life in less than 2 years. He attended college at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, but decided to drop out in order to pursue his own store. The day that he lost his scholarship to UTK was also the day that he found out he would be the new owner of 5503 N Broadway St. To him, “it was meant to be.”

Richie next to his Tennessee Volunteer themed wall.

Bowers and Richie share the common interest of vintage shopping, and she has a rack in Richie’s Riches dedicated to women’s clothing. Her business is known as the Thrift Fairy, and she sells clothes at Richie’s store and vintage markets.

To any students at Central that hope to open their own businesses, he advises that “consistency is key.” There are days where he makes money and there are days when he doesn’t, but he stays consistent through it all. He lives by the idea that “if you are just doing something for the money, it’s not good for the soul,” and wants students to know that “anything is possible.”

He is open from 1-8 PM Wednesday through Saturday and from 1-5 PM on Sunday. He is located at 5503 N Broadway St, Knoxville, TN 37918 and is extremely active on social media. His Instagram handle is @richiesriches, and his TikTok handle is @richesriches_.

Read more from The Bobcat Times:

Cinderella’s Closet- Affordable Prom Attire

Teenwork provides opportunity to gain skills and to experience the real world

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