For fashionistas living in MQT, it can be difficult and costly having to travel to places like Green

Bay or Duluth to find hip name-brand clothing labels. The Internet may have eased the burden slightly, but many ladies would rather try to find the perfect fit instead of blindly ordering jeans, dresses or blouses.

Never fear ladies; there’s a new fashion boutique in MQT, located at 2168 U.S. 41 West, that’s
going to keep young ladies trendy while keeping their purses laden with dollar bills. PHAT Closet opened in Marquette on Saturday, March 15, 2014, and the business owner Tara Kelgar said she is here to make sure all the ladies stay fashionable.

“PHAT means pre-owned hip and trendy. We decided to start a business where we could make resale clothing cool for the young and young at heart. I’m really big on finding that positive aspect of a woman and accentuating it, and making her feel good,” Kelgar said.

PHAT is a clothing resale shop, but Kelgar said it’s important to note that the store is not a consignment business because customers don’t have to wait for their clothes to be sold to get cash.“You get two offers when you come in to sell to us: we make you a cash offer or a store credit offer,
which is completely different from consignment. You never have to make an appointment,” Kelgar said.

The in-store credit is stored indefinitely and does not have to be used right away, which Kelgar said
works very well for her customers. She said roughly half her customers take store credit over cash.

The store’s employees are only looking for the best of the best in fashionable outerwear, and Kelgar said this sets them apart from area resale stores. The store doesn’t accept career clothing, for example.

“We’re pretty picky about what we take, and we are looking for things that are less than two years old,” she said.

The store is setup to look more like the high-end retail outlets seen in big malls as opposed to thrift stores, and Kelgar said many first-time customers are uncertain if items are new or used because of the high-quality of her merchandise.

Still, Kelgar has been a thrifty shopper her whole life and she said her drive for this business began when she was a teen who was missing out on fashionable clothes.

“When I was in high school, I couldn’t afford the types of things girls were wearing and I wish there was a store like this,” she said. “People brag about where they get their items, a $90 jacket for $30. With our economy kind of in the gutter it’s cool now to say you got something for the fraction of the original cost.”

Kelgar also said she doesn’t believe there will be much crossover from local consignment shops or area thrift stores because she’s targeting the younger demographic.

“We aren’t trying to take business from anyone. I’d like to keep great relationships with local businesses: MQT has Re-Blossom and there’s another store in town here that sells pre-owned merchandise. I really don’t think we’ll hurt their business or that they’ll hurt ours,” she said.

With prices at well-affordable levels, Kelgar doesn’t mark down merchandise. However, she cycles all wares with a two-month maximum, meaning her wares are always fresh and trendy. Kelgar said unsold items are stored in her warehouse until a special event held three or four times per year, which she calls the 3-2-1 sale.

“The 3-2-1 sale is where I take all the unsold clothes out of the warehouse and sell them for $3, $2, or $1. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Coach purse of Ugg boots, I’ll sell it for cheap during that sale,” Kelgar said.

In keeping with the thrifty shopper’s mentality, Kelgar said the 3-2-1 sale often occurs at critical times during the year: in August before school goes back in session and around Thanksgiving so parents can afford quality, brand-name clothes for the holidays.

Kelgar’s business is now three stores strong with her flagship store in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. and her second store in the Canadian side of the Soo. According to Kelgar, the expansion into the area fits a need and theme that MQT wants.

“We’re so pleased to be part of the community because there’s just a great vibe in Marquette. People here are extremely pleasant. People seem very into recycling and upcycling clothing and furniture here,” Keglar said.

John Becker is the new Managing Editor of MQT Social Scene. He can be reached at


One Response

  1. Steven Walden

    Wow, juicy and ed hardy finally made it to yooperville, and not a decade too late!


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