McKay’s: A Secondhand Store of Everything Nostalgic

Jessica Clifford
Arts & Entertainment Editor

A_E, 2_21, McKay_s, Jessica Clifford, PC_ Jessica Clifford

PC: Jessica Clifford

Nostalgia typically comes in the form of media, and McKay’s on Battleground Avenue sells just that at reduced prices.

McKay’s is part of a network of stores, including three in Tennessee and two in North Carolina. Every store runs the same way, in which selling, and trading items keep a flow of constantly changing inventory.

“There’s always something new to look at,” said Dawnia Powers, the general manager of the store, who was the former manager of the Chattanooga store in Tennessee. “It’s like a treasure hunt, there’s always something to find.”

Many Greensboro residents know the location formerly as Edward McKay’s, but as of June 2017, ownership sifted. Since then, the store has expanded, especially in the type of products offered.

“We want to have things people are looking for,” Powers said.

Now, the store is about half books and half electronic devices, music and toys. People can find TV series and movies that were once marked up in department stores to now two or three dollars at McKay’s. Powers said the store is family friendly as well, with a large section for youths, including books and toys. Even professors can get some interesting finds, like research material for arts and literature.

“We have such a wide variety of cool stuff and it changes constantly,” Powers said. “I think change is the key.”

On average, every day, 2,500 to 3,000 items are brought in by the public, while last month alone a total of 83,000 items were traded.

“Some people are like ‘oh my gosh, how much stuff do they bring in everyday?’” Powers said. “A lot is the answer.”

The general manager said the store works as supply and demand – if an item meets the requirements, McKay’s will take it, but the price will be marked higher depending on how much the public wants the item. Yet, some items originally with high price tags, are marked as the average used price of the item. To find out which items meet the guidelines for trading in, locate the yellow paper at the McKay’s cashier desk.

Though the trade system was tweaked since Edward McKay owned the business, all trades that were in his system are still being honored.

Powers is proud of their recent inventory, especially the amount of game and music-related items. Last month 3,800 records, almost 14,000 video games and over 20,000 videos entered the store.

“They had [vinyl] before,” Powers said. “But, I think we have expanded the section tremendously.” She said the record section has about doubled since last year.

All genres of music are taken if they meet the store’s guidelines. Bargain vinyl is also offered, some at 95 cents or less.

Though some things once popular, like macramé, are not stocked, there are a lot of items of nostalgic value.

“We have to change things and make room for things that are popular and so that way we are constantly evolving, constantly shifting and changing to meet today’s need, while still having all this old cool stuff,” Powers said. “Which still has all this nostalgic value.”

McKay’s also has two upcoming special events – Record Store Day and Free Comic Book Day.

April 21 is Record Store Day, which is when an order is placed, and many unknown records are sent to the store. No one will know, not even Powers, what will enter the doors.

May 5 is Free Comic Book Day, where the store will hand out comics to interested browsers.

Besides the wide variety of items, Powers said the 20 employees working are hand-selected and excellent for the job. Passion seems crucial to the business, especially for the child in Powers, who once loved to play librarian.

“I love it, I get over excited about it,” said Powers, referring to McKay’s. “I’ve been in it for a long time and it still makes me happy.”

The store is located at 1607 Battleground Ave, Greensboro, NC 27408, and is open Sunday to Sunday.

Powers gives Greensboro residents one last suggestion, “If you haven’t been in a while – go, because it is very different.”

Categories: A & E, Arts & Entertainment


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