first impression: cool clear water

Processed with VSCOcam with c3 presetThere’s a new secondhand store on the scene and I. Am. So. Smitten. It’s called Cool Clear Water, and though the business went without noticeable signage for months, the storefront full of cowboy-boots caught my eye immediately. (There’s two neon signs now, too, so you can’t miss it!)

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetStopping back a few weeks later, I was beyond impressed with the selection of vintage Western wear, jewelry and boots. Oh my, the boots. Shelf, after shelf, after shelf, after shelf, lined with gloriously preserved vintage cowboys boots for men, women and children.

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetOwner Glenn, a 20-year resident of the neighborhood and lifelong cowboy-culture buff who named his store after this song (captured on the sly two pics below), estimates he has 300-plus pairs for sale, making Cool Clear Water the preeminent destination if you’re in the market for a new pair of shitkickers.

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetThe store’s stock of snap-front button-downs for men is downright impressive, and includes American-made heritage labels like Ely, Wrangler, Rockmount, Pendleton, Corral West and many more brands unfamiliar to me. The selection is thick and the racks packed tight, so much so that I found myself waiting for my boyfriend to finish browsing, something that in all our years of thrifting together has never ONCE happened before.

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetAlso notable: a decently sized assortment of vintage suits, women’s clothes (circle skirts, snap-fronts, blazers), leather motorcycle jackets, cool ’80s and ’90s tees and affordable sterling jewelry and belt buckles, most all of it vintage. Prices aren’t bargain-basement/dirt cheap, but given the standard of quality and high level of curation, I found them to be 100-percent fair. (My hon and I paid $60 for three shirts, one definitely suitable for a dressy occasion, plus a handmade vintage silver and abalone ring for me.)

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetBut don’t just take my word for it, take a look around!

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Coming soon to the space? Guitar lessons upstairs and super-sales on the sidewalk and in the garage (weather dependent). Next time you’re up that way, stop in and take a look!

Where: 1900 Johnson St. Northeast, Minneapolis, MN 55418 (just up from the Quarry!)

Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 11:00 to 7:00
Friday, 11:00 to 6:00
Saturday, 11:00 to 5:00
Sunday, Noon to 4:00

Monday, by appointment (call Glenn at 612.250.6661)

Contact: 612.788.4299; coolclearwatermn.com

xo,

Meghan

store review: st. vincent de paul thrift store

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Right off of one of south Minneapolis’ busiest east-west thoroughfares (Lake Street), sits the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store. Truth be told, for the longest time, it was never one of my favorite spots to visit. After one bad experience, I never really wanted to go back, even though it’s practically in my neighborhood. In recent months, with icy roads keeping me closer to home, I gave this store a second chance, and it has since become one of my go-to spots for a quick pop-in.

WHAT’S GOOD

 Furniture: Upon recent visits, the back room has housed some reasonably priced pieces of furniture, including old highboys, dressers, vanities, headboards, etc., with most of them in very clean, serviceable condition. The concrete floor and overall garage-like vibe of the back room makes me a bit hesitant to buy anything upholstered, but I’d certainly have no qualms about bringing home a table, bookcase or anything in that vein from this store.

 Paper goods: I’m a big fan of vintage stationery and cards, and I’m always impressed by Vinnie’s assortment of cards, packaged stationery sets and the like.

 One-off dishes, glass ware and vases: While I never see too many complete (or even close to complete) sets, I have found several cute plates and glasses. If you’re hunting for vases for a wedding or project, Vinnie’s has you covered there too.

 Picture frames: If you use old frames for DIY projects, photos or art projects, this is the place to go, with super cheap frames in lots of sizes.

WHAT’S MEH

 Clothes: Slim selection overall and what’s there seems a little sad. (That said, I did happen upon the cutest, navy and white striped cotton Calvin Klein dress last time I was there, so, I guess you never know.)

Table linens: Another category with a surprisingly slim selection.

 Books: Mostly junky paperbacks and old magazines.

Take a peek around!

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Selection/Variety:  ♥ ♥ ♥

Quality: ♥ ♥ 

Pricing: ♥ ♥ ♥ 

Organization: ♥ ♥

Customer service: ♥ ♥ ♥

Where does money raised at this store go? With a motto of “Neighbors Helping Neighbors,” the Society of St. Vincent de Paul works not only to relieve need, but also to redress the situations that cause it. Advocating the concepts of Christian social justice, the Society believes in the rights and dignity of every individual and the need for equality of opportunity in education and employment. In 2010, Twin Cities Vincentians visited more than 1,900 neighbors in homes and hospitals, providing food, clothing, transportation and emotional comfort.

Do they take credit cards? Yes!

Do they accept donations? Yep, and they’ll even come get it from you!

Pro tip: Check out their monthly sale calendar, available here, for advance notice on tag sales, dollar days and senior discounts.

While you’re in the area: Treat yourself to tacos at any of the nearby mercados. La Alborada is great and Mercado Central also has tons of tasty options.

Where it is: 2939 12th Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55423

Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; closed on Sunday

Contact: 612.722.7882, Facebook

Have you a fan of this St. Vincent de Paul store? If so, I’d love to hear your take!

xo,

Meghan

store review: assistance league thrift shop

high plains thrifter // al thrift shopThey say good things come in pairs, and if you need evidence, just drive down to the 64th block of Penn Avenue where you’ll find two wonderful thrifts—my beloved ARC’s Value Village and the star of this post, the Assistance League (AL) Thrift Shop—separated by just a stone’s throw. Though it’s more modest in size and lighter in  inventory than Value Village, there’s plenty of good reasons to not skip over it!

WHAT’S GOOD

Art work: There’s a reason the volunteers at the AL Thrift Shop put the artwork right up at the front of the store…it’s usually really freakin’ good. Curated (and priced) by a retired art teacher turned volunteer, everything from gorgeous oil landscapes to one-of-a-kind screen prints to vintage posters to beautifully framed photos is priced fairly (which doesn’t always mean cheaply).

Designer labels: I’m not a huge label scout, but as some of you probably are, you may want to consider the array I noticed during my last visit: Burberry, Lilly Pulitzer, St. John, Ungaro, Ann Taylor, Dayton’s (vintage, obvs), J. Jill. Generally speaking, the clothing, in both style and size, skews to a more mature audience, as in, my mom would have a freakin’ hey day shopping here.

WHAT’S MEH

Dishes & drink ware: Slim selection overall and what’s there seems a tad overpriced. (That said, if you’re on the hunt for quality crystal, there always seems to be a pretty set or two there.)

Table linens: Another category with a surprisingly slim selection.

Furniture: It’s just no their wheelhouse. While I’ve noticed a couple cherry pieces there over the years, this wouldn’t be my go-to spot if I was after a dresser, bed, bookshelves, etc.

Take a peek around!

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In a nutshell…

Selection/Variety:  ♥ ♥ ♥

Quality: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 

Pricing: ♥ ♥ ♥

Organization: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Customer service: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Where does money raised at this store go? Staffed entirely by volunteers, proceeds from the store support the Assistance League’s philanthropic programs, which include providing new school uniforms for disadvantaged kids, one-on-one tutoring for second graders who are struggling with reading and providing assault survivor kits to emergency rooms around the metro area. Also, donated merchandise that doesn’t wind up for sale at the shop is given away to people in need via a partner non-profit. You can learn about all nine of AL’s charitable outlets here.

Do they take credit cards? Yes!

Do they accept donations? Yep, and you’ll get a coupon if you do!

Do they have a mailing list? You betcha, and it comes out each week. Don’t miss the 30%-off coupon good on any one item up to $50 that’s in each one. They’ll honor it if you pull it up on your phone! Sign up here or in-store at the laptop next to the checkout.

Pro tip: Clothing at the AL Thrift has a 12-week lifespan, meaning that if you wait long enough, whatever item you’re coveting will inevitably drop in price. Throughout the floor, you’ll find discount racks, but if you head all the way to the back, that’s where the 75%-off section and $1-10 bargain racks are.

While you’re in the area: Head across the street to ARC’s Value Village of course! And on the weekends, keep an eye out for estate sales happening in the ‘hood. I’ve had good luck in that little nook of the city!

Where it is: 6416 Penn Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55423

Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays; closed Sundays

Contact: 612.866.2135, Facebook

If you pay the Assistance League Thrift Shop a visit, I’d love to hear what you think.

Happy thrifting!

xo,

Meghan

store review: new to you thriftique

new to you thriftique // high plains thrifterBoy, do I love a good mid-day thrifting break. While most workdays I maintain the bad habit of eating my lunch at my desk, for sanity’s sake, I try to get away at least one day a week to hit one of the nearby thrift stores. It’s so refreshing! And luckily, just three minutes up the highway from where I work, is New To You Thriftique. Since it’s so close by, and so modest in size, it’s become my favorite spot for quick, lunch-hour pop-ins.

WHAT’S GOOD

Furniture: I’m constantly surprised (and delighted) by New to You’s furniture selection. (Like this chair I posted on yesterday, which was snapped up by my pal Dana!) Every time I visit, I spy at least one or two pieces I’d be proud to have in my house…well-constructed designer pieces, many of them vintage. I’ve never once seen a piece there I’d describe as shabby or beat-up, which is quite remarkable for a second-hand shop! The prices are also quite fair, with dining sets running around $60, armchairs around $30-40, dressers $30-40 and desks $20-30.

Dish sets: By now you’re probably familiar with the fact that vintage china is one of my greatest weaknesses, which sometimes makes visits to New to You difficult. Every time I go, there’s another set of pretty china that screams my name. Yesterday I was taken with a gorgeous earthenware set with black rims and pink rose accents (shown in the slideshow below)…there’s always something to tempt me!

WHAT’S MEH

Clothes: While I’ve had luck in the shoe department, scoring some sensible Liz Claiborne pumps and a sweet pair of sandals last summer, I’ve never once been tempted to take home a single item of clothing from this store. The selection is pretty small overall, which is fine with me. More room for furniture!

Take a peek around!

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In a nutshell…

Selection/Variety:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ (for furniture) ♥ ♥ ♥ (everything else)

Quality: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 

Pricing: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Organization: ♥ ♥ ♥

Customer service: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Where does money raised at this store go? Staffed by friendly volunteers, all proceeds from the store go to provide scholarships for students and to support Calvin Christian School. Items that do not sell get donated to other charities such as Goodwill, Bridging, Recycled Wardrobe and Community Closet in Eden Prairie.

Do they take credit cards? Yes!

Do they accept donations? Yep, and if you’re in the area and your load is big enough, they’ll even schedule a pick-up.

Pro tip: Get familiar with their daily specials. I like going on Wednesdays, when housewares are half-off.

Where it is: 8030 Hwy 55; Golden Valley, MN 55427

Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays

Contact: 763.546.9820 (store); 612.296.5481 (donation hotline)

If you pay the New to You Thriftique a visit, I’d love to hear what you think.

Happy thrifting!

Meghan

first impression: ARC’s value village in new hope

ARC Value Village // New HopeIt was the first day of last week’s cold-snap when I decided to drive over to ARC’s Value Village store in New Hope after work. I didn’t really know what to expect, except honestly, not a whole lot. I’d been underwhelmed when I last visited the store (four years ago, at least). Couple that with the fact that I’m a Richfield location die-hard, I was prepared to be unimpressed. However, after hearing about the store’s expansion and re-opening early last month, I figured it was time to give this shop another shot. And I am so glad I did!

Here’s the scoop: After 20 years in the same location, ARC’s store leadership decided to stay at their existing location and grow the store there, keeping the community of shoppers, donors and volunteers very happy. The subsequent growth is HUGE, expanding the store from 8,000 to 17,500 square feet. Every single department grew (doubling or in some cases, tripling in size!), and to make shopping even more enjoyable, aisles were widened, additional checkout lanes and fitting rooms were built, bigger carts made available and lighting improved. There’s even a donation drive-thru at the back of the building and room for a Merry Thriftmas boutique (two of my favorite features at the Richfield location). Walking in, I truly felt like I was entering a brand-new store!

ARC Value Village expansion

Right off the bat, I was majorly impressed with how organized the departments are. In the book section, for example, all the non-fiction is organized by topic. I love buying books second-hand, but sometimes can’t commit to combing shelf after shelf after shelf, so being able to hone in on whatever section I’m interested in (typically cookbooks, travel and auto-biographies) is a big plus. I went home with Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink and this fun travel book on Minnesota, both in mint condition!

ARC Value Village New HopeOver in the crafts area, instead of everything in a jumble, things are separated by category in bins. So helpful for people like me who thrift for project or craft supplies on the regular!

ARC Value Village New Hope Craft SectionAlso impressive was the selection of framed art. It pains me when thrifts pack art tightly together on shelves, as it’s hard on the frames, but also so annoying to shop. I loved how there were a lot of pretty pieces hanging up, which makes it so much easier to appreciate. This beauty was so tempting!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetSome other nice pieces…

ARC value village new hope The housewares section was spacious, but the selection was pretty slim at the time of my visit. I was looking for containers for candle-making, and I did find a couple, along with a cute little vase.

value village new hopeAlso worth noting is the retro section, comprising a few racks of clothing and some shelves of toys, books, knick-knacks and housewares. The clothes were really picked over and some really iffy in quality, but still, nice to have it separated out, right? And how adorable is this teal Suzy Homemaker play-oven?

Arc Value Village Retro RackBreezing through the clothes, I appreciated the fact they were organized by size. Just another example of how this store is set up with shoppers in mind! The shoe section was big, with lots of options for men, women and children.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetAll in all, I’m super excited to add this store to my regular shopping route, especially considering how close it is to my work. Check it out at 2751 Winnetka Avenue North in New Hope. Like the three other Value Village stores in town, this store is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Happy hunting!

xo,

Meghan

first impression: goodwill in st. louis park

Goodwill St. Louis ParkIt seems that lately, not a month goes by without a Goodwill grand opening happening somewhere in the Twin Cities metro. From Fridley to Roseville, Champlin to Lakeville, new stores are cropping up everywhere, with the most recent addition being a 17,600-square-foot location in St. Louis Park. Opening in mid-November, it didn’t take me long to find a reason to pop over there to take a look around.

Like all the freshly built Goodwill stores, the St. Louis Park location is big, bright and oh-so-very clean, with well-marked, neatly organized sections for men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, housewares and the like.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetThough my budget for spending was slim, I spent a good hour or so poking around. The selection at this store definitely skews to the high-end side, with lots of nice labels on the racks (Ann Taylor, Adrienne Vittadini, Ralph Lauren, etc.) and quality books by the boatload. While it was a little lighter on the housewares, accessories and shoes than I expected, more than a few things that caught my eye during my visit. Here are a few of them!

A sparkling, glam ’60s maxi dress (unfortunately sized 10 sizes to small), a mint-condition Donna Hay (the Australian Martha Stewart) cookbook, a sweet-faced ceramic Mary and baby Jesus…

goodwillslp-2Lots and lots of Mara Mi for Target party goodies including garlands (pictured), printable invites, cupcake liners and toppers, photo-booth props, etc. all brand-new in the box, decent-sized sets of both Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries, a half-set of Johnson Brothers china in a floral pattern (I think it was Floral Bouquet, but I’m not certain)…

goodwillslpcollageLots of games and toys, some disposable mini loaf pans (perfect for holiday gifting!) and one of my favorite vintage Bisquick cookbooks.

goodwillslp4Besides being well-stocked and nicely organized, I can’t wrap up this post without commenting on the incredibly kind and patient customer service I both witnessed and experienced at this shop. It staggers me how some shoppers (regulars, no less!) can be so incredibly rude, brusque and unkind to thrift-store employees. During my visit, I saw two instances of not-so-nice behavior on the part of shoppers, and in both occurrences, the employee on the receiving end maintained a helpful, positive and oh-so-very patient attitude. I can’t speak for all of the store’s 30 employees (many of them participants in career training programs), but Torrance, if your boss ever reads this, I hope she or he gives you a big pat on the back (and maybe even a raise).

The St. Louis Park Goodwill is located at 3575 State Highway 100…in layman’s terms, that’s directly behind the SLP Target off of Highway 100, right next to the LA Fitness. The store’s orientation is a little wacky, but this map may help you out. Like all area Goodwill stores, they are open seven days a week: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

To be the first to know about future Goodwill store openings, sign up for their weekly email newsletter!

xo,

Meghan

store review: treasures from the heart

baldwinthriftJust over the Minnesota-Wisonson border in the sleepy town of Baldwin, Wisconsin, lies one gem of a thrift. Divided into two separate storefronts across the street from each other, one for clothing and accessories and the other for furniture, home decor and the like, “Treasures From the Heart,” is definitely worth the drive.

WHAT’S GOOD

Linens: Holy smokes…where to start? Well for one, this place has vintage doilies coming out of its ears. And the prices on all the soft goods are great. Like $1 doilies, $2-5 for mint vintage tablecloths, $4 for sets of linen napkin/place mats, $5 for aprons, great.

Vintage patterns: For the readers who’ve emailed me regarding what thrifts are best for sourcing vintage clothing patterns, I feel obligated to tell you this thrift has a slew. This is the pack that first caught my eye, but once I started digging, I found a ton more, including circle skirts, wedding dresses, etc., etc.

Romance novels: No seriously! If retro rom-drams float your boat, this store has racks and racks and racks of paperbacks.

photo(65)WHAT’S MEH

Vintage clothes: While the clothing store does have a dedicated vintage section, it’s pretty slim pickin’s.

In a nutshell…

Selection/Variety:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Quality: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Pricing: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Organization: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Customer service: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Where does money raised at this store go? To support ADORAY Home Health and Hospice, an organization devoted to providing comfort at home to the acutely, chronically or terminally ill.

Do they take credit cards? Yes!

Are they on Facebook? Oh yeah.

Do they accept donations? Yep, and if you’re in the area, they’ll even schedule a pick-up.

Pro tip: Start a punch card! For every $100 you spend, you’ll get $10 back in in-store credit.

Where it is: 868 Main Street & 815 Main Street; Baldwin, Wisconsin

Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday

Contact: 715.684.2542 or 715.684.2545; adoray.org/treasures.htm

Tune in tomorrow to see what I found on my recent visit to this thrift!

xoxo,

Meghan