Neighbor Jeremy Turner specializes in ugly. The uglier the better. Old? Tacky? Frightfully flamboyant? Bring it on.
For sweaters, that is.
If you’ve ever tried to find an ugly sweater for your work’s tacky Christmas party, you know they can be pretty tricky to track down come Christmastime.
Although the hunt is half the fun, sometimes hours of scouring thrift stores and second-hand shops still turn out to be fruitless ventures.
That’s where Turner comes in.
Turner opened the Ugly Christmas Sweater Shop last year in Mockingbird Commons, the shopping center at the northwest corner of Mockingbird and Abrams, and he’s something of a wheeler and dealer when it comes to nightmarish knits.
He can’t reveal his sources, but he has a couple of suppliers who provide him with 11,000-12,000 seasonal sweaters, vests and shirts every year, which he buys in bulk and then turns for a profit — peddling them for $19-$43 a pop.
In other words, he’s basically the mafia of ugly Christmas sweaters.
You might remember Turner from The Vintagemobile, which is a giant green school bus he and his wife, Kelsey, revamped into a mobile thrift store.
The Ugly Christmas Sweater Shop accidentally grew out of The Vintagemobile after the Turners started selling seasonal sweaters three years ago and the trend exploded.
“From that first Christmas, I knew that this was huge and that people hadn’t fully jumped into it yet,” he explains.
He figured out where to buy sweaters by the thousands and decided to open a seasonal store in the location where Spirit Halloween resides in October.
At first, he didn’t expect the trend to last long.
“When I first got into it, I thought, ‘I’ll give this like a year or two, and then this [trend] will be over,’ ” Turner says. “But it keeps going up.”
Neighbors often buy ugly Christmas sweaters for their company Christmas parties. Sometimes families buy them together for the holiday photo.
Turner is beginning to wonder if ugly Christmas sweaters are a trend at all.
“I think America likes it too much,” he says. “I think it’s becoming an American tradition.”
This year, the Ugly Christmas Sweater Shop will be stocked with more than 12,000 sweaters, shirts and vests of all shapes and sizes — from infant to 2XL and beyond. It will be open from late November to Dec. 27, but it will be closed on Christmas day.
“I think this year is going to be a big year,” Turner says.
If the sweater sales from Christmas past are any indication, he’s probably right.
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