power-hour thrifting

So, my first attempt to go to the Bethesda Thrift in downtown Hopkins was a total bust. After successfully navigating my way to a new-to-me suburb (no small feat for this gal!)  I was met with this unfortunate sign.

The date was February 27.

The upside of my fruitless journey is now I can actually tell you where downtown Hopkins is. (Just past Edina, right?) The downside of course was that  my designated destination was shuttered. A quick call to Bethesda thrifts’ HQ confirmed that the new location in Minnetonka would be open on April 6. Eons away, or so it felt way back in late February.

Well, April 6 was yesterday people, and crap, I slept on the doggone opening. Which of course meant I had to power out there today over my lunch break. One scenic drive (Lake Minnetonka is purty!) and two missed turns later, there I was, at the Westwind Plaza, standing in front of a very beflagged (is that a word?), bustling  thrift store.

ooooh! flags!!

First impressions? A lovely geriatric shopper I overheard summed it up nicely: “Boy, this is big!”

Yep, unlike its Maplewood sister store, this place IS big. Like Savers big.  What it does have in common with the Maplewood shop is a a tidy, well-organized layout and quality merchandise at fair prices. It was fairly busy and my fellow thrifters seemed psyched about the store, its size and the goods. Seeing as I was on my lunch hour (my, how 60 minutes can fly!), I breezed through in a jiffy, snapping a few pics of some cute finds around the shop. My apologies for the crappy, blurry quality. As I said, I was in a hurry.

Of course, I had to scoop up a couple of dresses that were way too nice to just leave there, including an adorable robin’s egg blue ditty I hope to wear tomorrow. I’m crossing my fingers I can scam someone in to snapping my pic in it, so you can take a gander. It’s just that cute. In terms of sales, the volunteer I talked to said they won’t be kicking off any sort of deals for a couple weeks.

Anyway, if you find yourself in the western suburbs:

Bethesda Thrift Shop

4749 County Road 101 (Highway 7 and 101), Minnetonka
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Phone: 952.939.0988

I’m sure I’ll post a full review of the shop sometime down the road, but I usually need to visit a spot a good handful of times before drawing any review-worthy conclusions. You know, to be fair and all that.

Well, it’s getting late, and my sweetie’s on the way, which means it’s time for me to say nighty night!



store review: bethesda dress for less thrift store

Bethesda Dress for Less Thrift Store

Tucked into one of Maplewood’s many strip malls (the Hafner Centre, to be exact), this store is a little gem. While the majority of the clothing trends towards modern stuff with heavy dose of suburban mom flavor,  it’s often peppered with ’60s- and ’70s-era vintage—teases that will keep you visiting week after week.

To keep merchandise moving, special savings are a daily occurrence—all items with a certain color tag are 50 percent off, or, if you’re lucky as I was one recent Saturday, $1.  I walked skipped out of the store with a garbage bag full of treasures, all for $20. Don’t miss the grocery cart of half-off merchandise found next to the register, too. I’ve found some beautiful ’60s-era tablecloths and cute old scarves in there for song.

In terms of service, the lovely ladies—all volunteers!—who run this shop couldn’t be sweeter. It’s the place to thrift if you miss your grandmas, as I do frequently. They start chatting about their replaced hips and water aerobics classes and boy oh boy, I eat it up. One hundred percent of the profits from Bethesda’s thrifts support Bethesda Lutheran Communities. According to the charity’s website, in 2008, the shops provided $1.2 million that helped pay for specially built wheelchairs, dentures, supplies for feeding tubes and for Christian education and “spiritual nurture” for the folks served by the organization. I don’t know what “spiritual nurture” means exactly, but if shopping there helps put teeth in a toothless mouth, I’m all about it. I’m biased towards non-profit thrifts, as you’ll find out.

Some of my favorite finds from this shop:

Sears Donut Machine

Sears Donut Machine-$2.50

1950s-era lacy blue garter belt-$2.49

Victorian-ish leather lace-up boots, $1.50

I’ve also scored unbelievable deals on vintage coats here. My favorite is a stunning green bouclé wool beauty with original buttons and mink collar. With an $8 price tag, I couldn’t pass it up. Other good finds include a two-piece wool suit from the ’60s ($1), an awesome striped ’80s-era shirt dress ($4.99), countless blouses ($1-4.99), cute brooches ($2.99)…I could go on.

Go here to find: vintage coats and blouses, impeccable table linens, scarves, fabric remnants, cookbooks, awesome old sewing patterns, never-used vintage stockings

Selection/Variety: ♥ ♥ ♥

Quality: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Pricing: ♥ ♥ ♥

Organization: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Customer service: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Cleanliness: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

While you’re there: You mean besides hitting up the Dairy Queen across the street? Okay fine. The sign advertising the $1.50 burger at Bleecher’s Bar & Grill tempts me, but I haven’t been brave enough to give it a go. Has anyone eaten there? One of these Saturdays, when the burger bug bites, I’ll give it a try.

Anyway, if you’re wanting to maximize your thrifting excursion, make a quick stop at ARC Value Village or Goodwill. They sit like two ducks in a row on your way from Highway 36 to the Bethesda shop.  Head north on White Bear Avenue towards Highway 36 and they’ll both be on your right.

Where it is: 1550 White Bear Ave. N., St. Paul, MN 55106

Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Contact: 651.793.6352

I’m working hard on a handy how-to, coming up soon!