store review: it takes a village recycled goods store

ittakesavillage   Although I pass by It Takes A Village on an almost daily basis, it took me a full year-and-a-half to start frequenting it with any kind of regularity. At first I thought it was one of those fly-by-night pop-up garage sales you sometimes see in this part of town, and, after talking to the owner, I was half right. The shop did essentially start as an indoor rummage sale, but over time, it’s morphed into a full-fledged secondhand shop with a special emphasis on high-quality vintage furniture.


Lamps: If I was looking for some really sweet statement lamps—think amber-colored pendants, matching sets of ceramic table lamps, chandeliers— I would come hunting here. Tip: Ask to try out any secondhand lamp before buying it to make sure it works. A good store should be willing and able to accommodate you!

Furniture: Every time I’ve visited this shop, I’ve been impressed with the furniture selection. From gorgeous floral sofas to 1930/1940s-era highboys (with original mirrors!) to ’50s formica dining sets, the selection is always solid. I’ve also spotted some really spectacular accent chairs, side tables, coffee tables and bedroom sets!

Price-wise, there are bargains to be had. The sofas I’ve liked have run between $50 and 80, while solid wood dressers (in fabulous condition!) are upwards of $80, which is a deal. Dining sets hover around $60 and side/coffee tables can range between $20 and $40.


Clothes: The selection of clothing is small and underwhelming, so much so that I wish they’d devote the floor space to stocking more furniture.

Records: While they’re only $1 a piece, every single album I found I wanted was in rough shape. Definitely come here for records only if you’re looking to do something cool with the album art.

Where does the money raised here go? When I asked the store owner this question, he said that as the building owner, he subsidizes a couple GLBT non-profits that operate out of the building and that he also puts some funds, as well as donates the land, for the community garden that’s next door.

10kvillages5Selection/Variety:  ♥ ♥ ♥

Quality: ♥ ♥ ♥

Pricing: ♥ ♥ ♥

Organization:♥ ♥

Customer service: ♥ ♥ ♥

Cleanliness: ♥ ♥ ♥

Do they take credit cards? Yes, but only if you spend $25 or more.

Do they offer delivery? Yes, for $20.

Are they on Facebook? Yes, and their page is updated often with new arrivals. Also, if you check in on Facebook while you’re there, you’ll receive 10% off your purchase.

Do they accept donations? Yes!

Where it is: 3405 Chicago Ave South, Minneapolis (2nd floor)

Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week

Contact: 612.208.0647,



first impression: the salvation army family store in st. cloud

The first juicy honeycrisp in fall. A front-and-center spot at your favorite band’s concert. A dream job.  Sometimes the best things in life are worth waiting for, and I’m adding the new Salvation Army Family Thrift Store in St. Cloud to that list. I first learned of the plans for the new store last February and have patiently been waiting for details on the opening to surface. On Saturday, at long last, the store opened and oh my goodness, she’s a beaut.

Housed in what used to be Hoye Home Furnishings, this store is mammoth. I’d even venture to guess that it’s the largest Salvation Army thrift in the greater Minnesota area. It’s practically cavernous! Here’s the view from the front of the women’s clothing section.

The racks were packed full, but not to the point that made them impossible to shop. Sections were organized nicely too, by category and then color. This rack’s always an eye-catcher when Thanksgiving’s around the corner.

The shoe racks were packed full too, but again, super organized and neat.

The back of the store housed humongous electronics (flat-screen TVS galore!), furniture, holiday decor and housewares sections, including some nicely priced antique-y stuff in glass cases. (Don’t overlook the jewelry—it’s all back there too, some in cases some on round racks.) This impractically gorgeous pink china cup and saucer set had to be mine.

I successfully resisted this set of six stainless steel mugs. They were so hefty and in mint condition—perfect for Moscow mules in the summer.

They also had a huge section of scratch-and-dent home goods, cast-offs from Target. There was a good amount of serving ware, including some really nice drink dispensers. I picked up the 12-piece Pyrex set pictured below for a song! ($11.99 to be exact; retail price hovers around $30.)

A few more quickie impressions: I have picky standards when it comes to thrift-store fitting rooms and I found the set-up here comfortable. There’s roomy, and more importantly, clean stalls, and lots of big (clean) mirrors. Also, compared to the metro-area Sal Vals, prices here were fantastic. Think $3.99 for a vintage wool skirt, $2.99 for blouses, $4.99 for boots, $6.99 for a stunning wool Fashionbilt coat from the 1960s. At first when I saw the plaid I was all like, “this is too much!,” but once I slipped it on, I was done.

All in all, I had wonderful experience and left wholly impressed with the store. I hope to post more about some of my finds soon, but this should give you an idea of how well I did. (!!!)

If you’re ever up in St. Cloud, I’d highly recommend a visit. To make your thrifting experience up there easy as pie, I gave my St. Cloud Thrifting Treasure Map a quick update, reflecting the addition of the Sal Val and noting the new (and improved!) location of the Treasure Chest. (Click View Larger Map or the link above to get the details, including hours, phone numbers and links to all my favorite stores up thatta way.)

Please check out the original post to nab links to my favorite places for a bite in St. Cloud. Because thrifting’s not nearly as fun if you’re starving, am I right?

And now it’s your turn! Did you get any shopping in over the weekend? Have you visited any new stores that’ve knocked your socks off? Either way, fill me in!



store review: family pathways’ north branch used book store

Is there anything more fulfilling than a good, old-fashioned bookstore shopping spree?  I don’t mean the “fill up the Amazon shopping cart” kind (fulfilling in an altogether different way), but the “holy shit I’ve been at this bookstore two hours, where has the time gone?” kind. I’m hard-pressed to think of anything more fun. But then I discovered Family Pathway’s Used Book Store up in North Branch. A magical place where bibliophiles like me can enjoy hours-long shopping extravaganza and barely dent their checking accounts.


The prices: Pricing at this store is as straight-forward as it gets: $4 for hardcovers, $3 for paperbacks, $1 for clearance corner books, 99 cents for children’s books. When I visited, a sale on all gardening, craft and cookbooks was running, knocking 20 percent off books in those genres.

The organization: When I first walked into this thrift, I honestly felt like I was at a cozy, small-town library. The shelves are clutter-free and every section is clearly identified, making it incredibly easy to zero-in on the sections you’re interested in.

The collectible books section: Taking up a good portion of the back of the store is a categorized assortment of vintage and antique books. I found some serious gems back there, including some home-making and cook books, which were both discounted 20 percent.

The clearance corner: Tucked in the back left corner is the ample-sized clearance corner, featuring a wide variety of books, all just $1.

Where does the money raised here go? To support Family Pathways’ many varied community services, including non-medical senior services like advocacy, respite care and companionship; food pantry access for individuals and families; and support for youth and teens like mentoring programs and after-school activities at their teen centers. Family Pathways serves communities in seven counties throughout Central Minnesota and Western Wisconsin and continues to add new services based on the needs of the community.

On my last visit, I spent a total of $42 and came home with all of these books.

I’m stoked on them all…here are close-ups of a few.

Forty-three dollars people, for 14 books, about half of them vintage.

Go here to find: Books!

Selection/Variety: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Quality: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Pricing: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Organization:♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Customer service: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Cleanliness: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Do they take credit cards? Yep!

One more money-saving tip: For every 10 pounds of books you donate, you’ll receive a book buck (that looks like a bookmark!) worth $1, for use that same day or on a future visit. They also give out one book buck for every $10 you spend!

While you’re there: Why not hit Recycled Wardrobes, the thrift store just a block down on Main Street? If you’re in the mood for coffee, every cup I’ve had from North Country Coffee has been super yum. (To learn more about Family Pathways’ other thrift stores, check out this post.)

Where it is: On North Branch’s main drag: 6381 Main Street, North Branch

Hours: Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Contact: 651.277.0098



store review: stone soup thrift shop

If you’re looking to shop a squeaky clean, well-organized thrift store, Stone Soup isn’t for you. Hidden away in the quaint riverside town of St. Paul Park, this thrift can be summarized with just one word: dingy. However, their prices are low-low-low. So while picking your way through the labyrinth of questionably organized, somewhat stinky rooms may take a bit of time, you might find yourself a gem or two!


Glassware: If I was looking to stock up on ’70s-style glassware—think amber-colored dishes, green textured bowls, yellow votives—for a centerpiece or event, I would for sure come here first.

Free table: In the front room of the shop sits a table full of stuff that’s free. Definitely always worth a once over.


Clothes: Smallish selection of frumpy junk from brands like Sag Harbor, White Stag, etc. If you do happen to find some things that catch your eye, the a la carte price list for clothes is up by the register, but for just $8, you can fill a grocery bag full any day of the week.

Shoes: Again, the selection is small and most pairs are in super shoddy shape.

Furniture: Every single time I’ve visited this store the furniture room stinks like paint, leading me to the conclusion that purchasing furniture from this shop would be a really bad idea.

Where does the money raised here go? To the Basic Needs Action Team, a nonprofit that serves the disadvantaged and low-income community. In 2011, $147,294 worth of Stone Soup’s merchandise was given away for free to families in need—a whopping 57 percent of the store’s entire inventory!

And now here’s where I share a few of my favorite finds from this shop.

On my last visit, I found two hand-tooled leather handbags for $3-4 a piece. I polished them up with some leather cleaner when I got home and they are looking sharp.
As of last year, I’ve instituted a strict buying freeze on afghans, but for some reason, I couldn’t pass this one up. I love how the petals on the flowers fold over—so cute!How cheery is this dimpled planter? I’m thinking of popping some succulents into it and giving it to a friend.


Pricing: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Organization: ♥ ♥

Customer service: ♥ ♥ ♥


Do they take credit cards? Yep!

Where it is: 950 Third Street, Suite 101, St. Paul Park

Hours: Monday through Friday : 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Saturday: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Contact: 651.458.9786,



first impression: ReSale 101 in Plymouth

Yesterday, over my lunch break, I took a drive out to visit one of the newest thrift stores on the scene, ReSale 101. The shop, which opened on September 21, is a fund-raising arm of the Plymouth nonprofit, Interfaith Outreach & Community Partners (IOCP). Located  just off of County Road 101 in a brand-new building that also serves as IOCP headquarters, housing a food shelf and employment, housing, community and childcare resources, this shop is definite must visit.

At noon, the place was bustling. Friendly, chatty volunteers were busy putting out new merchandise and accepting donations (a staff of 100 volunteers run the place) and a handful of shoppers were perusing the racks. The overall feel is definitely more upscale than your average Salvation Army or Goodwill; more akin to a consignment shop than a thrift. Clothing was separated intelligently with special sections devoted to men, plus-sizes, teens and to my great delight…vintage.

Now before you start saddling your ponies for Plymouth, let me finish. The selection of clothing was sparse (less than eight pieces all together) and the majority of it I’d classify as too dated to be wearable. (Think high-collared maxi dresses and quilted housecoats.) That said, the overall assortment of antique-y otherthings including house wares, books, prints, knick knacks, et al was respectable. Items seemed to be in really excellent condition and prices ranged from good to reasonable to off-base. It should be said that if you’re into super vintage children’s clothing, there was a lot of it there. All of it in pretty great shape.

The prices overall are reflective of the edited, quality selection. Meaning, they’re definitely on the high side. The vintage clothing started at $10 and ranged on up to $18. Housewares were more sensibly priced as were the modern clothes and accessories. Deals are still to be had, though! Here are a few things I just couldn’t pass up.

A full set of vintage Libbey hostess glassware, in a fetching “Swiss Flowers” pattern.

Another crazy patterned caftan to add to my collection.

A fairly large crewel piece. How adorable is that flock of little puffy sheep?

Not pictured: A ridiculously awesome ’60s cocktail dress that photographs terribly on the hanger. Take my word though…it’s freakin’ sweet. Also, a cute little linked gold belt and a set of four boho-y metal chargers from India.

If you’re interested in checking out this thrift, here’s what you need to know. (Please note their hours are quite funky!)

ReSale 101

Address: 1605 County Road 101 N, Plymouth
Hours: Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Phone: 763.489.7500
You can also follow IOCP on zee Twitter.



P.S. Photos in this post were taken on my phone and edited with Best Camera.

store review: the salvation army in frogtown

Salvation Army Thrift Store, Frogtown, St. Paul

I’m not going to lie: the Boss inspired me to stop at this Sal Val on Monday. Ever since I read about a fellow thrifter’s insane Bruce Springsteen concert T-shirt find there, I’ve been more than a little motivated to check it out again. And my goodness, am I glad I did! It turns out, a few days prior to my visit, a vintage shop that had recently closed had donated boxes upon boxes of merchandise to the store. We’re talking super primo designer vintage, most of it from the ’50s and ’60s. Anyway, as you can imagine….a major bonanza ensued, as evidenced by my overflowing cart.

After I stuffed my cart with vintage, I spent the better part of the next hour going through the rest of the shop.


The store is large and well laid-out, two things I really appreciate.

  While they don’t have as big of a selection as the downtown Minneapolis Salvation Army, they have a more than decent amount of nice furniture and lamps. I saw a well-crafted coffee table for $10! Also spotted? A couple cute vintage lawn chairs and a pair of hanging bird cages I’m totally kicking myself for not buying.

The shop has an above average collection of framed artwork, including (at the time of my visit) some larger scale mid-century pieces, some cool Native American powwow photos and some small kitschy pieces from the ’70s.

  The prices are really reasonable. Over the past year, prices at nearly every Salvation Army have gone up substantially, but this store is an exception. For example, I didn’t pay more than $3 a piece for any of the vintage I snagged, and some of it was discounted by 75% thanks to the tag sale they had running.

The service was exceptionally sweet and patient. While I was waiting in line, I saw the manager and cashier address two fairly difficult, argumentative customers with poise and kindness.

And last but not least, they have a dedicated vintage section. Which makes this girl’s life a whole heck of a lot easier!


The couple times I’ve visited, I’ve noticed that the housewares section has really slim pickin’s. If you’re looking for Pyrex, dishes, knick knacks or bake ware, you might not have the best of luck here.

It’s not super clean, a fact I can overlook in every thrift if the prices are rock bottom, as they are here.

The vintage goodies (numbering in the dozens), need laundering and steaming before they make their Internet debut, but here are a few other things I found on Monday that got me excited.

A complete, 16-volume set of Family Circle’s DIY Encylopedia from 1973 ($8). (Incomplete sets retail for around $50 on Etsy.)

I cannot wait to dig into these babies, you have no idea! Here are a few of my favorite covers…

I also picked up a couple random pieces of framed art. We’ve had a couple customers at Mighty Swell request more big-eyed boy/girl ’70s art, so I picked this up (even though it sort of creeps me out).

This photo of the Dump Sweet Dump (50 cents) mirror is too funny not to share! Yes I am wearing a wool sweater in June…it’s Minnesota!

After purchasing this cap-sleeved ditty (75 cents), the number of red and white gingham shirt I own is now up to three! Yikes!

Go here to find: Clothing (modern and vintage), art work, furniture, photo frames, books.

Selection/Variety: ♥ ♥ ♥

Quality: ♥ ♥ ♥

Pricing: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Organization: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Customer service: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Cleanliness: ♥ ♥ ♥

Stroller-friendly? Yes!

Do they take credit cards? Yes!

While you’re there: There’s a ton to do over in this ‘hood! I love Ethiopian food and Fasika down on Snelling is one of the best spots in town. Go with a friend and split the veggie sampler. It’s nourishing, healthy and a total bargain at $14. If you’re in the mood for more thrifting, try digging for treasures at the Goodwill outlet at 2505 University Avenue or visit the plain old regular Goodwill store over at 553 Fairview. I also love finding stuff I never knew I needed at Ax-Man Surplus on University. That store is so fun!

Where it is: 572 University Avenue West

Hours: Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Contact: 651.789.0099, Facebook



store review: The PROP Shop in Eden Prarie

The PROP Shop of Eden Prairie

Fact: There isn’t an abundance of thrift stores in Eden Prairie. In fact, there’s basically just one,  The PROP Shop. I visited the store a couple times last winter, didn’t have much luck and since I’m rarely out that way, I hadn’t made it a priority to return. But when I paged through the Best Of issue of Southwest Metro magazine at work last week, I saw The PROP Shop was included in their Best Of feature as the “best thrift store” (read entire article here). So, I figured I should mosey on over and pay it another visit.

Again, I left empty-handed, which is very rare for me. I attribute my lack of luck to a couple of things.

1. The store is pretty small…about six or so medium-sized rooms and some hallways filled with art. Bigger stores = more finds. Smaller stores = diminished odds you’ll find what you’re looking for. But as diminutive it is in size, it’s always packed full of stuff.

2. The volunteer staff is super selective and picky about what they’ll accept to re-sell. Unlike Savers and Sal Val, stores that’ll pretty much accept practically anything, The PROP shop aims way higher. This means the shop’s overall level of quality is high, but it’s not good news for a vintage-lover like myself. During both visits, I didn’t see anything that qualifies as vintage or retro, except during their fur sale, when they had quite a handful of beautiful old furs. The clothing is mostly modern and suburban-y, and the furniture and home goods are as well. Everything’s clean and in good condition.

3. The prices, to me, are pretty high. Dresses start at $7 and range between that and $17. Skirts run $5-15. Shoes range from $5-15. Large pieces of furniture start at $70, which is about what you’d pay at an estate sale. The shop’s always running sales though. When I visited last weekend, all picture frames were 1/2 off and hardcover books were a steal at $1. Clothes tagged the color of the week (or month?) were 1/2 off.

With all that said, there’s no doubt that this thrift is filling an important niche in their community. Since opening in April 2007, The PROP shop has provided free clothing, furniture and housewares to more than 1,000 families in need and have donated $48,000 to local charities. That’s impressive stuff, especially considering that the number of folks living below the poverty level in EP is on the rise. You can read more about The PROP Shop’s impact on the community here.

Go here to find: Quality used furniture, newer used clothes, shoes and books.

Selection/Variety: ♥ ♥

Quality: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥


Organization: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Customer service: ♥ ♥

Cleanliness: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Do they take credit cards? Yes!

While you’re there: Drive 15 minutes over to Minnetonka and visit the (much larger) Bethesda Thrift Shop.

Where it is: 15195 Martin Drive, Eden Prairie, MN 55344 (in an industrial park)

Hours: Tuesday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, 12-4 p.m.; closed on Monday

Contact: 952.934.2323,, Facebook

Have you ever shopped at The PROP Shop? Did you find anything great?