Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Thrift Store Shopping in West Michigan

Thrift Stores are a great resource to help you stretch a buck!

You can find unique items, gently used or BRAND new with tags items that are alot cheaper then shopping retail. Brand names too! I know alot of people think thrift stores are dark, dirty and depressing and that they are "above" shopping at a thrift store, but times have changed and you will find people from all walks of life shopping and most stores are clean and organized. "Thrifting" can be fun and also help provide funds for various charities.

Most thrift stores are non profit and run by volunteers. All money received from donations and thrift sales go towards helping others in the community. Goodwill and Salvation Army does have paid employees that are receiving vocational training. Consignment shops (Once Upon a Child, etc) are not considered thrift stores as they are privately run businesses for profit.

Goodwill-provides vocational rehabilitation for the disabled
Salvation Army-offers shelter, food, job training, and spiritual guidance to the poor
Love Inc (Ottawa County)-Provides assistance to low income families, help with groceries, utilities, clothing. For every $1.00 donated, $50.00 worth of goods or services are provided.

Thrift Stores in Grand Rapids and surrounding areas can be found on this cute website. Simply put in your zip code and it will pull up all thrift stores(not consignment) in your area.

A few tips:

Bring cash:since these stores are non-profit some do not accept debit/credit.

Look for specials: most will have sale items, color tag sales, 50% off week, etc

Be nice: the cashier is typically a volunteer or is not being paid very well. Have patience.

Keep an open mind: you will find "interesting" treasures from past decades but also up to date, very nice items as well. Its a scavengar hunt and sometimes you will strike out and not find anything you need.

Know the store's return policy: Most stores have an all sales final return policy. Others, like Goodwill will accept returns with store receipt. Try on clothing or have measurements if you are unsure of sizing.

You can find lots of treasure while thrift shopping. We have purchased several toys and books in excellent condition for my son that just needed to be washed and disinfected. He doesn't know the difference and you can't beat $1 or $2 for well made toys. We stop by Love Inc from time to time and I've found incredibly nice Gap sweaters, Gap jeans, TCP shirts and Gymboree outfits for $1 each!

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