Business Duo Open Community-Centered Virtual Thrift Project

(Jeff Heyman, Photographer)
Tony DeMartile, co-owner of Saint Anthony’s Virtual Thrift Project, is pictured amongst some of his own artwork. A professional hairstylist and creative, he and partner Guy Gargiullo hope Orinda’s newest thrift store will be a communal and creative space for Orindans.

    Tony DeMartile, a recent Orinda resident and hair stylist for more than 30 years, is trying his hand at a new profession – thrifting.
    Opening Saint Anthony’s Virtual Thrift Project with his business and life partner Guy Gargiullo, DeMartile hopes their store, at 128 Village Square, “change[s] the way thrift happens.” Saint Anthony’s is named after the patron saint of lost items, according to DeMartile.
    Starting with online sales last month, Saint Anthony’s currently offers clothes shopping and home organizing services. Gargiullo, who runs the latter, visits clients to help organize and pick-up donations. The duo plans to expand, with a timeline matching their goals of changing thrift culture, while creating a sense of community at the store.
    Plans are in place for open houses the first Saturday of the month, starting May 6, until the grand opening on National Thrift Day, Aug. 17. DeMartile envisions an event with food trucks and fun for curious shoppers, which he hopes will keep the momentum going for years to come.
    The goal is to move Saint Anthony’s to a larger space which can accommodate more inventory and workers, specifically elderly artisans and energetic young folk. Bringing in older employees was Gargiullo’s idea.
    Noticing some of his friends and family in need of additional income and wanting fulfilling work, Gargiullo thought incorporating Orinda seniors was a way of using Saint Anthony’s to give back to the community.
    As for bringing in younger employees, that vision came from DeMartile. While growing up, he attributes formative moments and insights to his elders, those special people willing to share their lived experiences. So, for DeMartile, creating a store which unites Orinda’s young and old, just makes sense.
    “I got so much information from the community and from all of the elders,” he said. “It felt sacred to me in a way and a lot of the time, I don’t think we have those connections of learning from people who actually know something about something. I want to bring that element to the community.”
    Hiring the city’s elders is also a chance to expand Saint Anthony’s services. Utilizing their lifelong skills – whether it’s sewing, stitching or hemming – DeMartile wants to not only resell clothes, but also repair them.
    This pivot away from single-use attire is part of how DeMartile wants to shift the way we thrift. For example, customers can come into Saint Anthony’s looking for a used jacket, while getting their tattered pants –which probably would have been thrown away – patched and repaired.
    DeMartile, an experienced business owner, and Gargiullo have set ambitious goals for Saint Anthony’s. Starting his own beauty salon in 1996, he built strong, long-lasting relationships with clients, like Doris Adler.
    An Orinda resident for 28 years, Adler has known DeMartile for the same amount of time. She was so impressed with his hairstyling, that while working in Albuquerque, she would wait to get haircuts at his salon when visiting family in California.
    Hearing about DeMartile and Gargiullo’s new endeavor, she is confident they will succeed.
    “He’s got a truly kind soul,” said Adler. “He is just benevolent to the nth degree and he is all about balance in the universe and making everyone feel good about themselves, feeling whole and giving back to his community.”
    For virtual shopping, visit or call 510.501.8331.

Tristan Shaughnessy can be reached at

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