Spotlight on Raleigh: Thrift Stores

>> Sunday, February 1, 2009

It's funny the things you end up missing about past places you've lived. Of course, I absolutely miss my old friends the most, but after that, the thing I miss most about Silver Spring, MD is the Unique Thrift Store and Value Village. It's two thrift stores housed in one building making it a gigantic Walmart-sized warehouse of every used item your heart could possibly desire.

Okay, maybe it's not quite that big. But I can say this...When I lived in Silver Spring, I broke the number one rule of thrift store shopping, which is "go often, weekly if possible." I made a trip out to the Unique Thrift Store and Value Village about once a month, and I was still always able to find exactly what I needed. Since we moved, we've been back up to Maryland three times, and I've made a point of popping into my favorite thrift store each trip. And I've found just what I wanted every time.

Now that I'm in Raleigh, I have to make more of an effort to thrift store shop. Luckily, I have four thrift stores within a five mile radius of my apartment, so I can make a quick stop at each one on my way home from running errands. I keep an ongoing mental list of things I need, and I can do a walk through of a thrift store looking for items on my list in five to fifteen minutes.


Location: 321 W Hargett Street

Revenue goes to..."education, training, and career services for people with disadvantages, such as welfare dependency, homelessness, and lack of education or work experience, as well as those with physical, mental and emotional disabilities."

My Humble Opinion
: Of all the thrift stores near my apartment, this has the biggest and best clothing selection. The clothes are organized by color and style, making them easy to browse, and they have a nice selection of children's clothes. There's even a dressing room. I wish though that there was a bigger shoe selection and that the boys' and girls' clothes weren't all mixed together.

Cause for Paws

Location: 1634 S. Saunders St.

Revenue goes to..."Second Chance Pet Adoption, a non-profit animal rescue organization which has served homeless animals since 1989."

My Humble Opinion: This store has a rundown, dirty feel, the clothes are more dated than at Goodwill, and I hate how they have all the kids clothes thrown into one big bin, so you literally have to dig to find anything. On the other hand, they have a large selection of non-clothes items, including large pieces of furniture, appliances, TVs, dishes and other sundry kitchen items, decorative items, and toys. They also seem to be having a sale every time I drive past, and from what I've observed, their prices are cheaper than Goodwill and the Salvation Army.

Tryon Hills Thrift Store

Location: 329 Tryon Rd.

Revenue goes to..."the N.C. Children's Promise, the fundraising arm of North Carolina Children's Hospital."

My Humble Opinion: This store is small but nicely organized and has a variety of items, including a nice selection of kids clothes and shoes. Larger furniture pieces and bikes are in the back. They have periodic sales, and on those days, they get pretty crowded. And don't forget to leave your hangers on the rack! They announce that over the intercom about every fifteen minutes. :)

Salvation Army Family Store

Location: 205 Tryon Rd

Revenue goes to..."the many outreach programs managed by the Social Ministries department."

My Humble Opinion: This store has the smallest clothing department of all the thrift stores near my home, but the biggest selection of furniture, including couches, entertaiment centers, dressers, bedframes, etc. Like the Goodwill store, the items at this store seem to be in better condition than at the other two thrift stores. I found a like-new Pack N Play there a couple weeks ago. Score!

Shopping at thrift stores is a win, win, win activity. It's good for the environment because it keeps usable items out of landfills. It's good for the pocketbook for obvious reasons. And it's good for the community because revenues from thrift stores are used to help local charities. So get out there and discover your local thrift stores!

And if you live in Raleigh and know of a thrift store like the Unique Thrift Store and Value Village I discribed above, please please please let me know!


Stephanie February 13, 2009 at 1:49 PM  

Ohhhh, we have Unique Thrift Stores in Illinois, too, and I agree, they rock. They're so well organized too, and Mondays are half-price days. Of course, I'm so cheap, I don't ever go on a day that isn't Monday!

I homeschool my son, and 95% of the books we own come from thrift stores and yard sales. We supplement with library books and I buy whatever else we need, but it's not a lot. St. Vincent de Paul thrift stores are absolutely wonderful for books- youth books are ten cents a piece, adult books are 25 cents. Can't beat that!

And I have to ask, have you noticed Goodwill's prices have gone up? The ones I used to go to in Connecticut were really low priced, but I'm seeing their prices going up and up and up. Makes me wonder...

Erin aka Conscious Shopper February 13, 2009 at 10:22 PM  

Stephanie - I just recently started shopping regularly at Goodwill, so I haven't noticed a price jump. But I can say they are the most expensive of all the thrift stores I go to, but they also have the best quality clothes. I wonder if the prices at Goodwill differ from area to area, or if they have standard prices.

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