From reporter to thrift shop owner

Enough with the journalism! At least that’s what Nate Miller, a wire service reporter for the Chicago-Sun Times said to himself after 7 years on the job. He has reinvented himself as “Mr. Thrift”, a friendly neighborhood junk man in Chicago’s Uptown section.  

“I was like a lot of eager young journalists fresh out of a master’s program who just get stuck, you know,” he says. “But I come from a long line of entrepreneurs. My dad owns a fabric shop downtown. There just came a point where I wanted to own a store. It’s in my blood, man.”

And on a rainy weekday, Miller stands outside Mr. Thrift near Broadway and Sheridan — a storefront the size of a wealthy woman’s walk-in closet.

Miller is in his element, jabbering with locals as a steady drizzle “washes” the $2 rack of used shirts on the sidewalk. After a short while, the unshaven shopkeeper is smiling wide as a thin, elderly man forks over 100 bucks for a 3-speed beach cruiser with an antique bell.

“Now that’s a good sale,” Miller says, standing next to a stack of toasters, a row of electric fans and a pile of bric-a-brac.