Raspberry Beret more than just a Popular Song

Mariama Ndiaye's picture

North Cambridge Thrift Store Thrives in Changing Cambridge Landscape

Raspberry Beret is perhaps best known for being a song by Prince, but did you know it is also a vintage thrift store now located in Cambridge, Maynard and Reading? I had the occasion to go to the Cambridge Raspberry Beret located at 2302 Massachusetts Ave. It is on the border of Arlington but still near Porter Square. Raspberry is known for their stylish clothes. Women from all around can shop for a dress for an event, a discounted designer bag or a whole wardrobe update for the season. They promote styles that are modern, classic vintage, and luxury clothing and accessories that are all thrifted by and for women.

I had the opportunity to go this store a couple years ago, and to this day I can see the growth in business it has become. This store has a connection with thrift stores like Buffalo exchange, the Garment District and Boomerang, but what stands out in this specific store is unique.

Raspberry Beret first opened in Wakefield in 2005. The consignment shop had to move to Porter Square in 2009, and then in 2013, it opened in Reading and Maynard. This week I visited the store and talked to some of the employees working there.

“We have established our brand by having a friendly, clean and organized store filled with stylish well-priced clothing and accessories for women,” said the owner, Rachael Bankey.

She went on to say that the store has a unique style and personality. Bankey added that they have a very loyal customer and consignor that shops and sells at the store. I asked how they get the clothes they sell every day, and Bankey stated that they get their clothes from consignment and buying outright.

I then asked her why the original Raspberry Beret moved one mile north, and it is because the rent is cheaper in their new location now. The moving she had stated was very expensive, so they had to take out a loan to do it, but business is still thriving.

“It is a really fun place to work at,” said one of the employees I had the occasion to talk to. She worked in retail for a long time, but she stated specifically that this is a fun place to work. She was actually part of the moving process to the location in Cambridge they are at now. The employee believes this location is better because there were a series of transitions in the last location near Harvard Square, and they all did not feel settled.

I decided to write this article on the store Raspberry Beret because it looks unique and trendy to me, and I wanted to know more about how this specific thrift store came to be. I am delighted to report that Raspberry Beret is the one thrift store I will be going to for colorful fancy and vintage clothes since their name is named after the song Raspberry Beret made by Prince himself.