Rag-O-Rama changes name, owner

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If you’re a loop dweller or shopper than I’m sure you’ve noticed a recent change since May 11, 2009. The huge “Rag-O-Rama” sign over the buy/sell/trade store was replaced with a sign reading, “Avalon Exchange”. Although it may seem like Rag-O-Rama has been taken over by a new company, it’s actually the exact same store, with just a few new tweaks.

The interior of Avalon Exchange, formerly Rag-O-Rama, has not changed significantly since the store changed owners in May. (Madeline Fleming)

The interior of Avalon Exchange, formerly Rag-O-Rama, has not changed significantly since the store changed owners in May. (Madeline Fleming)

“A paint job, name change, and a few employee benefits are really the only changes,” former Rag-O-Rama and now Avalon Exchange employee Natalie Slyman said.
Two owners were in control of the Rag-O-Rama chain that actually had three other locations in Atlanta, GA, Indianapolis, IN and Columbus, OH. Avalon Exchange was part of the business, with two other stores in Pittsburg (according to their websites). After speaking with two employees, they explained that the owners split up, and to make the division equal, each got three stores.
One owner took over the other three Rag-O-Ramas outside of St.Louis and the other owner got the Pittsburg Avalon Exchanges. To make things fair, he also got the St.Louis Rag-O-Rama.
“He made the choice of the Loop location because he liked how it was already being run, and knew that all he needed to do was a paint job,” employee Scott Walter said. However, this new title came with some employee benefits including a better late for work policy and discount. Also, the store owner is a little more hands off according to the employees.
“This is good because it gives the employees more control, while the past owner liked to be more involved.” Slyman commented.
Despite the change in owners, the store itself has not changed significantly.
“Not so much, except with the décor and now the ceiling isn’t falling down,” Slyman said. “There’s no price difference, and there are the same people working here.”
The employees who do the buying still look mainly for good condition vintage, and current trends.
“The St.Louis Avalon is less focused on brand names than the other Pittsburg locations,” Slyman said.
Employees say that the change has had no negative effect on shoppers; they still are getting the same people shopping along with a lot of out of towers. Some Loop go-ers are confused and people have asked employees, “Do you know where Rag-O-Rama is?”
Clayton students have mixed opinions on the issue.
“I think the ownership really won’t effect the shopping atmosphere,” senior Jake Leech said. “It was a cool shop and I don’t see why a name change would really change that.”
However, other students strongly disagreed.
“They put up the new sign that read Avalon Exchange, and my heart dropped,” junior Josh Fagin said. “Then they handed me the bag with the new logo, and it all went down from there. Rag-O-Rama was awesome, but now its different in a bad way.”
Junior Grace Brumley agrees that the change might not be for the better.
“I don’t mind a new owner but it’s a little scary because I can definitely see another raise in prices coming soon,” Brumley said. “I am disappointed in the changes Rag-O-Rama [now Avalon Exchange] has made recently and I do not plan on shopping there regularly,” she added.
Although there’s a new name and environment, it looks like Avalon Exchange has made a mix of changes, good and bad.

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