By Lilian Huang
Shoppers looking for bargains in Hyde Park have a new option to consider: the Silver Umbrella thrift store on the corner of 53rd Street and Hyde Park Boulevard.
The store, co-owned by sisters Zakiyyah and Shaakira Muhammad, opened in March this year and aims to provide shoppers with a range of new and gently used clothes, furniture and books at low prices. The owners say it also offers an environmentally friendly way to dispose of high-quality, fashionable items no longer in use.
Zakiyyah, who has worked in the fashion industry for over a decade as a sales representative and boutique manager, was inspired to open The Silver Umbrella after observing the lack of stylish budget shops in Hyde Park. The only other similar store in the neighborhood is Encore, a clothing resale store at 1553 E Hyde Park Boulevard.
“Thrift options are non-existent,” Zakiyyah said in a recent interview. “I felt like the South Side really needed a thrift store.”
Zakiyyah described business as being good so far, with University of Chicago students comprising around 30 percent of the customers. She believes one reason for the store's appeal is that it “doesn't look like an ordinary thrift store, but more like a boutique.”
While the clothes, art, and furniture would blend in at a boutique, the prices would not. The highest priced items are furniture, which might run as high as $400. But the shoes or shirts might range from $6 to $14. In terms of overall style, Zakiyyah said, “we try to have something that will appeal not just to one group of people, but to many.”
The store also benefits from its location inside the Del Prado building. Foot traffic in the area is heavy and there is no shortage of walk-in customers.
The Silver Umbrella’s owners hope Hyde Park residents will “stay tuned” for what the future holds. The store’s website is currently under construction, but customers can stay in touch through Facebook.
The Silver Umbrella is located at 5305 S. Hyde Park Boulevard. It is open on Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Rachel Wasielewski contributed to this article.