Wednesday, April 17

The Crestone Eagle is a nonprofit monthly newspaper serving Crestone and the San Luis Valley

Spotlight on Business: Thrift Horse & Company-Resilience, community, and a vision beyond business

By Jennifer Eytcheson.

Nestled in the turquoise-painted octagonal building on Hwy. 17 — where T-Road leads to Crestone — is Thrift Horse Moffat, a resale store that defies its size. 

Beyond the racks of women’s and men’s clothing, accessories, shoes, home and kitchenware, books, CDs, and albums, it offers something unique — free socks, anytime. While the shop currently doesn’t have room for hanging children’s clothing, there will be periodic “box dig days” for kids’ clothes. 

For owner Tina Raiford, Thrift Horse & Company is more than a business; it’s a platform for community support.

  Raiford’s journey into entrepreneurship began unexpectedly with the establishment of Thrift Horse Salida in August 2020, alongside two business partners. Evolving from a mere storefront, Raiford’s vision expanded, aiming to franchise and empower local mothers. 

“You will see rugrats around, either mine or someone else’s,” Raiford said, highlighting her commitment to providing jobs for mothers who can bring their children to work.

  In August 2023, Raiford signed the lease for Thrift Horse Moffat with the vision of making it the flagship for her franchise. However, destiny took an unexpected turn just four days after the opening when she suffered a major head injury from a fall. Adding to the challenges, in December 2023, she learned that she had to vacate the 8,000-square-foot Salida store. With only six days to clear the store, the community came together, offering volunteer support, food, resources, and unwavering assistance, ultimately meeting the deadline. Reflecting on the collective effort, Raiford remarked, “We moved a mountain.”

  The unforeseen head injury marked a turning point for Raiford, prompting her to prioritize health and well-being. Opting against relocating Thrift Horse Salida, she embarked on a year-long sabbatical, focusing on personal health and raising her children while overseeing the operations of Thrift Horse Moffat from her Crestone home.

  Looking to the future, Raiford is reorganizing her business plan, seeking education, and collaborating with the Small Business Development Center for small business grants. The aim is to expand Thrift Horse & Co, starting with a likely location in Alamosa. Plans include extended hours, donation pickups, furniture sales, and a venture into online business strategies.  She will continue with free socks and clothing assistance for those in need. A wish list service will allow individuals to request specific items.

  In 2016, Raiford and her children relocated to Crestone following a massive Louisiana flood. Despite the stark contrast from the busy halls of the Louisiana governor’s office, where she worked as a paralegal, Raiford felt a calling to this new place. Embracing the slower pace of Crestone, she humbled herself by moving into a yurt that lacked running water, a kitchen, or a bathroom. Determined to create a new life for herself and her children, Raiford spent up to eight hours a day selling homemade soap at a local kiosk. This transition required her to let go of the busy trappings of her past life and adapt to the pioneer-like environment of Crestone.

In Raiford’s words, “I’ve learned that we all have roles to play, and when you learn what that is, you thrive.”

Current winter hours of operation: Thursday – Saturday 11 a.m.–5 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Check Thrift Horse & Company’s Facebook page for box dig dates and watch for an announcement of the company’s new website. Contact: 719-256-0000, email: 1thrifthorse@gmail.com.

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