Monday, May 10, 2010

The Downtown Salvation Army/"Target Outlet"

Last week I made my third pilgrimage to the downtown Salvation Army. Introduced to me by my sister in law Julia several years ago, her sister Anna and I went there together last summer.

The building is monstrous and therefore holds plenty of furniture, tschotchkes, tons of shoes, loaded bookshelves and of course, clothes. Items are arranged by male/female/boy/girl, genre and color, but not size, which means a lot of picking through racks.

The upper story is your average thrift store, though I would say fairly dated in clothing styles. I feel you wouldn't find designer jeans here, but you would find plenty of 80's and 90's styles. (Acid washed jeans are back, apparently!) Vintage Levi's would be a possibility.

But descend to the basement, aka the "Target Outlet" and you will find most of the customers in the store! This Salvation Army seems to be the repository for Target store clothing samples, overstock, scratch and dent and miscellany. However the prices are much higher than upstairs; $5 for a t shirt, $10 for a dress, etc.

The home goods section includes furniture, various decor items, towels, comforter sets ($30 to $50), sheets ($25 for a queen set without its original packing, wrapped in duct tape, which seemed high for not knowing the fabric/thread count.) There are some toiletries and pet care items there, along with gardening items and clothing accessories. One highlight is the multitude of brand new shoes and sandals in the basement.

The majority of the lower level is dedicated to clothing, arranged by titles like "Girls T-shirts", "Mens Pants", etc. I was especially drawn to the colorful summer dresses, but there were few in size large. The extra-small or plus sized woman would have a field day down there, as well as expectant mothers who like the Liz Lange line.

I didn't check out the kid's clothes but there was a huge selection!

One drawback is that this Salvation Army only has one dressing stall, upstairs. Also make sure to look carefully at your Target cast-offs; they might have a hole, stain or a big stamp labeled "SAMPLE" across the back. Some items have no tag or no size listed at all.

For me the "Target Outlet" hasn't really been worth the digging. Target pants usually don't work for me anyway, and the store itself has pretty good sales. I feel most Goodwill stores have plenty of Target clothes at better prices. But, for the Target addict, this Salvation Army is a must see!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

New and New to Me Thrift Stores

In the former Joe's Garage restaurant at University and Fairview Avenues in St. Paul is the new Second Debut store. Run by Goodwill Industries, Second Debut features high-end clothing and designer shoes and jeans. The store seemed to cater to a person older than myself, but did have a great selection of pre-owned items. Running the gamut from a Gucci jacket ($150) to Express Jeans ($14.99) prices are obviously higher than at the neighboring Goodwill Store. Clothing is arranged by size and genre and includes accessories and a large shoe room, where a size 7.5 pair of Manolo Blahnik black pumps sold for $79.99. Definitely check it out!

I recently made my inaugural visit to a thrift store in St. Anthony, Hidden Treasures. This was a very neat, well organized store of the "smells like Grandma's basement" variety.

Hidden Treasures had furniture and loads of kitchenware, including many matched sets of dishes. The usual vases, candle stuff, cutlery, Tupperware and wicker baskets were included, as well as a large selection of books and video cassettes. There was a tempting but too small black velvet and taffeta dress, but otherwise the clothing was from the Kohls/Kmart/Walmart ilk, mostly dated. For $19.99 I purchased a dehumidifier that appeared to work in the store when I plugged it in, and proved to indeed dehumidify our basement! I also found clothes for my niece and nephew (1 and 3) who had their birthdays this week.

(The tags with the bar codes are from Hidden Treasures; the others are from the St. Anthony Unique Thrift store.)

I feel both stores are worth checking out; Second Debut for the cream of the Goodwill clothes crop, and Hidden Treasures for who knows what! Ah, the beauty of thrifting.

Happy shopping,