by Zack Mink
Arcata’s beloved thrift store Krave has been a safe place for community members, with affordably priced clothing and a community pantry with free food and personal hygiene products. Unfortunately, due to high rent prices, the current location on H street in downtown Arcata will be closing at the end of December.
Krave originally opened its first location in Sunnybrae. After a consistent lack of foot traffic, Kai Flores, owner of Krave, decided to move locations to the current neon green store front by the Arcata square. Although Flores is pushing through financial challenges, their mission to provide affordable goods continues through the stores closing, with 50% off everything aside from consignment items and three one-dollar clothing sections making the prices more affordable than ever.
Despite the financial difficulties, Flores is keeping the spirit of Krave alive because of the positive impact it has had on the community.
“The goal was never about money… the goal was about community, and trying to be different. And, it worked! It’s hard to keep your faith in humanity sometimes but [Krave] restored it,” Flores said.
Flores will be continuing the essence of Krave by prioritizing their interactive social media presence and keeping their official website, krave.shop, updated with more of Flores’ upcycled pieces and a large curated plus-size section. In addition to their active online presence, Flores is hoping to have Krave pop-ups and other interactive experiences to keep providing affordable clothes and other resources to students and community members.
“It was cool having my own little spot but I don’t feel like that’s necessary for me to still make Krave a thing, ” said Flores. “It’s not an ending, it’s just a revision.”
Another priority for Flores is finding a new host for the successful community pantry.
“That’s gonna happen. Somebody’s keeping [the community pantry] alive and I will keep it pretty,” said Flores.
To make donations for the community pantry, you can reach out to Flores through Instagram direct messages @krave.arcata. With such high demand for Krave’s community pantry, Herb + Market at 427 H Street has volunteered to become its new home on Dec. 4, continuing the positive contributions Krave brought to Arcata. Despite closing the brick-and-mortar store, Flores will keep providing this resource, as well as clothing related contributions to the community by working with Oldtown Community Alliance, Humboldt Center for Harm Reduction and possibly OhSnap’s on campus clothing drive.
“I’m a community guy,” said Flores. “I’m definitely still trying to get stuff to the people.”
Reflecting on their time at 1073 H street, Flores shared some of their most memorable moments at Krave.
“I’ve had from the cutest to the most raunchy things happen in this shop, and all of them were somehow the most pure and beautiful things I’ve ever seen,” said Flores. “From the tiniest little boys running around in high heels… to my favorite strippers doing a cake show in the most safe space they’ve ever been in. It’s been incredible to see.”
Flores also cherishes the feedback they received for their extensive curated plus-size collection.
“I had a plus-size person come in and shop, and then tell me this is the only store they feel really comfortable shopping in,” said Flores.
Flores also appreciates the customers who got to explore their gender identity through their clothes.
“I had one fellow try on a dress for the first time because he had always wanted to twirl… so he got to do that here,” said Flores.
These special moments and the connections people have built motivate Flores to continue the essence of Krave throughout this difficult transition.
“Love. Love, that’s it. It’s brought so much love into the door… that’s really what keeps me going in this world, realizing that there are these little beautiful connections,” Flores said. “People really do want better for each other… that gives me hope.”