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A fitting end

Cheap Thrills Vintage says goodbye

Cheap Thrills owner Kristen Casey

Destiny Jade Green

Walking into Cheap Thrills Vintage is both chaotic and comforting. Overwhelming yet orderly, the eclectic shop at 3018 E. 15th St. has been providing customers with a nostalgic sensory experience unlike any other shop in Tulsa since the turn of the century. 

The Tulsa staple just hit its 20-year milestone, but the celebration is bittersweet. Owner Kristen Casey announced Sept. 10 that Cheap Thrills will close by the end of 2019. 

“It’s been great to work with 15-year-old punk rock kids to 80-year-old women. I have such a range of customers. I really enjoy that because you never know who’s going to come in,” Casey said. In addition to a loyal customer base, Cheap Thrills has entertained famous patrons from all over the map, including Sonic Youth, Steven Tyler, St. Vincent, Mac Miller and Ariana Grande. 

Casey announced the news on Facebook: “Bittersweet Birthday. The month of September marks the our 20th year and sadly the year I’ve decided to close the brick and mortar store. I will continue to buy and sell but will let the physical store go. I plan on staying open through December and will be adding more inventory to the shop over the next two months.”

The comment section quickly flooded with well wishes and fond memories from customers who have frequented the shop throughout the years. One customer shared they had purchased their wedding dress from the store. 

I spoke to Casey just one day after the announcement. Her grief still raw, Casey struggled to find the words to articulate just how much the shop means to her. When asked why the store is set to close, there was no simple answer. 

In early 2018, Casey’s husband passed away tragically in a truck accident. “He was a big part of the store. I’m so reminded of him here. That and we have a young son who is super involved in sports and we are always out of town doing things. I can’t man the store like 
I’d like to,” Casey said.  

For Casey, not having day-to-day interaction with her customers will be the most difficult part about closing the store. “People have been coming since I first opened. … I’ve gotten to see people grow up, which has been awesome,” Casey said. 

Carla-Rose Branch is one of those people who’ve been frequenting Cheap Thrills since its doors first opened. She said the store has helped her find her own sense of self through fasion.

“When I would walk into the first location on 11th Street, it felt otherworldly,” Branch said. “Cheap Thrills offered me the opportunity to safely and creatively express myself and my individuality through one-of-a-kind fashion as opposed to mass-produced labels and department store finds.” 

While the brick-and-mortar shop is set to close at the end of December, Casey plans to bolster her online presence and continue selling her uniquely curated vintage items via Instagram and the Cheap Thrills website. 

“I thank all the customers for all their support over the years,” Casey said. “I’ve [met] so many great friends and people.” 

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