Even though she obviously has a knack for it, Penafiel wasn’t always in the thrifting business. She is also the director of Local Project, a Long Island City arts non-profit. She originally came up with the idea to start a thrift shop in Local Project’s existing space as a way to raise funds for the organization, while also indulging in her passion for beautiful secondhand clothing and objects. Penafiel was visiting Film Biz Recycling, a Gowanus store that resells used film props, when the inspiration first struck her. “I just thought ‘This is what I want!’” she told us.
Penefiel admitted to us that at first she felt a bit overwhelmed with the shop, but luckily her business partner, Katherine Consuelo, has been able to offer some guidance. Consuelo is no stranger to the ins and outs of running a thrift shop, having previously worked at several secondhand stores in Manhattan.
The Fancy Fox has its entrance at 45-10 Davis Street in Long Island City, and on the day we visited, graffiti artists could be seen on ladders adding to the outer facade of the building. Inside, shoppers can find everything from a 70s-style fondue set to old records to colored glassware to brand name vintage handbags (we picked up a Dior clutch for just $35). Unlike some of the other New York City vintage shops, price inflation seemed to be kept to a minimum and many items were available for just $5. “There are prices here for everyone,” said Penafiel.