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Thrift Store Moves Into Former Tent City

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Rochester: Thrift Store Moves Into Former Tent City
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A Rochester business owner turns a vacant landmark into a store serving his community.

The old Tent City building is now Estate Liquidator Thrift store.

It's been about a decade since the building on the corner of Lyell and Dewey Avenue has been dusted off.

"The last time I was in this building, I was six years old. I went to Midtown with my grandmother. We rode the bus and we came to Tent City shopping," said Estate Liquidator Thrift Store Owner Chuck Petromallo.

Life has a funny way of bringing back Petromallo's childhood memories.

"Little did I know 45 years later I'd be operating out of here," he said.

His thrift store, Estate Liquidators, opened in the Tent City building eight weeks ago. He has donated, gently used, new and refurbished treasures for anyone.

"We have everything here including the kitchen sink," he said.

Chuck looks at his inventory that are here for anyone in need.

"If something is marked a certain price because of what we got into it and you don't have it in your pocket, chances are you are going to leave with it," said Petromallo.

For ten years, the building known as Tent City sat vacant on Lyell Avenue. Chuck says he wanted to open his store there because he felt that's what the neighborhood needed.

"I happened to come over here and I was like, 'You know what? I've got some art I want you to sell,' and he said, 'You know what? God brought you in. You don't even know what's going on,'" said graffiti artist Cash 1.

For Cash 1, the thrift store brought opportunity. He gets his own corner of the 13,000 square foot store to showcase and sell local art.

"He said I could curate this spot back here and he told me to get on it and I've been blessed," he said.

Through his customers and even his employees. Chuck's goal is to build on those blessings.

"As long as you help other people out, they will always help you out and bring more business to you," said Estate Liquidator Thrift Store Manager Johnson.

He says occupying this space can be a financial struggle, but he believes this is a business venture that's already paying off.

"This is a humbling experience for me. I'm not in it for what's in my wallet. I believe that the reward is spiritual and I get that every day," said Petromallo.

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