Richmond punk scene mainstay closing after 25 years

Nicole Ekanem

Contributing Writer

Since 1986, Exile, the alternative thrift store near the intersection of Grace and Harrison streets, has provided Richmond and VCU students an alternative way to shop.

Hailed by many as the place to shop in order to be a part of the punk scene in the 90s, the prolific store will soon be closing its doors.

“We had a great run; (there are) no regrets,” owner Mimi Regelson said.

Regelson said it is the right time to close because, after 25 years, she is ready to take time to do things that she hasn’t had time to do while the store remained open.

“I will probably do some online selling, and I have other things in the works,” she said.

The hole-in-the-wall thrift store is a stark contrast to the many stores in the Richmond area: For many, it’s more like a home than somewhere to shop.

According to Regelson, within the past 25 years of being open, she encounters grandchildren of some of her original customers.

Regelson opened Exile when she moved here, straight from the alternative music scene in New York City.

“Since I had been part of the music scene, I wanted to open a store that appealed to an alternative community of artists and musicians,” she said.

The store is an explosion of studs, animal prints and vintage jewelry, clothes, books and other miscellaneous items.

“It began with a much more alternative focus,” she said. “There were things we carried that no other store in Richmond did.”

When Exile first opened body jewelry was one of those items.

Currently Regelson has no set date for the closing of the store, though she was originally planning on closing by the end of February.

“I have so much stuff in storage. I drag stuff out, and it seems like it’s an ongoing project,” she said of the two storage units she still has yet to completely empty.

Regelson said the store’s closing will have to be postponed until a few weeks into March.

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