Tanya Young Williams, sole proprietor of the recently opened Central Park Resale at 22 West 66th Street, has been doing well by doing good all her life. It’s in her blood.
“That’s how I grew up, you know, understanding the importance of following your passion, being creative, helping other people and being proud of who we are.”
It’s no wonder she named her two daughters Whizdom and Tryumph.
Central Park Resale is a visually enticing emporium of consignment (bring your high-end clothing in and enjoy a slice of the proceeds); resale (gently used clothing); and thrift clothing (less expensive used clothing).
Retail represents quite a departure from Young William’s previous professional roles. She is a lawyer by training and spent her early years in media, primarily as an on-air legal analyst for award-winning KTLA in Los Angeles, as well as a regular “talking head” on HLN (Headline News) and CNN, offering insight for high-profile trials. Young Williams also hosted a radio show called “In the Loop” out of New Jersey.
She “pivoted” from there about 10 years ago, founding the aptly named Pivot Treatment and Wellness Center, a holistic, Florida-based drug and alcohol dependency program. The venture grew out of her own painful experience watching her then husband succumb to the temptations and destruction of substance abuse.
“People would leave treatment sober, but they didn’t leave well. And so, at Pivot, we created a wellness curriculum, too,” she explains.
But how did she get from addiction services in Florida to a storefront on the Upper West Side? She pivoted again. “I felt that I had done the most I could do. Since the curriculum was in place, it was really in the hands of the clinicians, the experts and professionals to continue the work. So, it was a great time for me to transition.”
Ever the entrepreneur and always a fashionista, Young Williams followed her purpose-driven heart again. Her younger daughter had signed a contract as a Ford model, based out of New York where she is also in theater school. So, in September 2020 Young Williams packed up and headed north to search for opportunities, while wrapping up her role with Pivot. She moved full-time to the city in August 2021.
“My life has always been, you know, leap and God provides the net and that’s exactly what we did.”
As luck would have it, Young Williams quickly found out about an empty retail space on West 66th Street, just blocks from Lincoln Center. She took one look and was smitten. “I fell in love with the space. I knew that in Manhattan, it’s very rare that you find a space that just says, wow, I haven’t seen this before. And from that moment, it really took a second.”
She also had good vibes from the neighborhood, all of which have proven true since she opened last October. “I love the location,” Young Williams says. “So many people in the community really want the store to succeed…you can hear it and see it in their eyes. They’re proud of their neighborhood. That has been a wonderful surprise for me from a business perspective.”
As for the mixed “used clothing” concept, Young Williams says she was well advised by her daughters. “I always learned through my children, but began to really appreciate the importance of secondhand shopping and shopping sustainably,” she explains. “We said let’s create a destination, let’s create a place where people can be proud of their community and their store.”
“My mission was to be a microcosm of Manhattan,” she says, “meaning a real melting pot..and a multi-generational shopping experience, which you don’t see in a lot of our stores…there’s really something for everyone, you know?”
At Central Park Resale, that means a few video arcade games tucked amidst the racks of clothing. Not to mention a pledge to give back. Williams not only donates a portion of her overall sales to nonprofits, she also created a “Thursday Bin.” All proceeds from bin items are donated to a local nonprofit that she and her daughters choose. To date, the lucky recipients have included the Actors Fund, The Ali Forney Center, Culture For One, and the Samuel Whitfield Simmons organization.
“We are unique in that we’ve put three very distinct business models under one roof,” she adds. Young Williams also places a premium on sourcing from a wide array of places which can offer high-quality products with a distinctive look. “I travel. I go to Chicago, Florida, Los Angeles…It’s a bit tiring but it’s an important part of the business.”
When asked what the most challenging part of her start up has been, Young Williams laughs good-naturedly. “Probably the lack of sleep. God willing, things will change, and I will be able to bring some more support on maybe an assistant manager, which will allow me to have a little bit of time outside of the store.”
For the time being though, a stop by 22 West 66th Street guarantees visitors a warm and engaging audience with Young Williams herself. That alone makes it a worthy destination.