Thrift stores offer deals

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 25, 2011

By Shavonne Potts
Helen Bailey shops every day, but sometimes she scales it back to every other day. Bailey peruses the aisles of the Salvation Army looking for a bargain on furniture or clothing.
“Or just about anything,” she said Thursday while in the Main Street store.
She’s been looking for deals at the thrift store since 1999.
“I got a good deal on an entertainment center once,” she said thinking back on the years of good deals.
Thrift stores like the Salvation Army are a source for inexpensive clothing, household goods, electronic and other appliances. Many of the items are of good quality, some are rare and many are new. And money spent at the thrift stores in this area directly benefits charitable organizations and programs.
Diana Laughlin has been thrift store shopping since her 20s and usually finds something useful. She tries to stop in the Salvation Army store about every couple of weeks. She also shops in the Nazareth Thrift Store.
Laughlin shops for vintage pieces, clothing and household items. She once bought a Land’s End jacket for just $6.
“Why pay full price?” she asked.
Thrift store shopping isn’t just a way to get a reduced price on items; it’s a way to help the environment.
“It’s another way to save and recycle. It’s a way to keep it out of the landfill,” Laughlin said.
Emma Foster, a thrift-store shopper for about 10 years, shops for herself and others. She buys clothing and shoes.
“I shop often, maybe a few times a week,” she said. “I have found some good bargains.”
Capt. Jason Smith of the Salvation Army said the clientele at the thrift store has changed.
“People are trying to stretch their dollars as far as they can,” he said.
Smith said the quality of the donated items enables people who are used to a certain brand or style to shop at the store.
People can shop, get a deal and help people, he said. The proceeds help with the organization’s social services outreach programs.
Many of the people who benefit from help through the organization are victims of domestic violence, house fire victims and the homeless who have transitioned to housing.
Everything in the store is based on donations, said Salvation Army store manager Lisa Myers.
“We try to keep prices low. It’s a good place to shop in a good Christian atmosphere,” she said.
Kenny McCombs shops at the Habitat Restore on South Main Street to look for tools and other home supplies.
“I come in about two times a week during lunch,” he said while poring over a bin.
He uses some of the items he finds at a couple of properties he maintains. He said prices are cheaper than he would find in a home improvement store.
Elizabeth Brady, Habitat director of store operations, said many of the home improvement items come from Lowe’s. The store has electronics also.
Brady said people of all walks of life go to the store. Shoppers can range from antiques dealers to people moving from a homeless shelter to permanent housing.
Reid Patterson is a self-professed thrift store shopping expert, visiting weekly.
While shopping Thursday he bought a few movies. He also shops at the Salvation Army and Goodwill.
“It’s a lot of fun to see what’s in there; many bargains. More people should come out to these stores,” Patterson said.
Most of the customers who shop at Goodwill at Jake Alexander Boulevard look for clothing, said store manager Alex George.
“I see some customers twice a day. They enjoy coming into the store. They like the atmosphere and the employees,” she said.
The items donated are used and some are new.
“Everyone is looking for that special thing,” George said.
The store sells dishes, clocks and small appliances and refurbished computers.
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Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.