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;



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!



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!



first impression: “merry thriftmas” at ARC’s Value Village

I’m not gonna lie to you guys: I started shopping for Christmas stuff this weekend. I would feel weird about my overabundance of yuletide spirit, but I don’t. Because this weekend I discovered a group of people that are equally (if not MORE) excited about Christmas than me. I happened upon this jolly group at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, aka the opening day of the “Merry Thriftmas” shop at ARC’s Value Village store in Richfield. The entire middle section of the store that had been sectioned off and stocked full of Christmas merchandise, and when I stepped in the door, literally every single aisle was jam-packed with shoppers, many of them pushing overflowing carts! (My kind of people!) Sadly, I wasn’t much in the mood to power through such thick crowds, but I did manage to scope out the set-up so I could report back to y’all here. My findings can be summarized pretty easily though: the “Merry Thriftmas” shop has everything Christmas you could ever wish for.

Snow globes. Check!

Wrapping materials. Check!

Lawn ornaments. Check!

Sweet old ladies checking out the fake evergreen situation. Check!

Overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle, I quit taking pictures soon after arriving, but here’s a quick overview of what they have: Cookie tins. Christmas cards and party invitations. Holiday records. Festive serving ware. Ornaments for the tree. Twinkle lights. Cookie cutters, molds and presses. Holiday sheet music. Wreath boxes. Glitzy earrings. Bedazzled sweaters. Welcome signs. Table linens. Accent pillows. Tom and Jerry sets. Wreaths. Garlands. Trees. Christmas craft books. Christmas cookbooks. Candles. Pine cone potpourri. Wall hangings. Ribbons. Bows. Wrapping paper. Knick-knacks. Angels. Snowflakes. Reindeers. And Santas. Lots and lots and lots and lots of Santas. If it’s Christmas-related in any way, they probably have it (and it’s likely to be really affordable too).

The “Merry Thriftmas” shops are part of every Value Village location now through December 23rd, and I’m told, will be restocked with new merchandise continually. So go already (if you love Christmas) and get your shop on. ‘Tis (almost) the season, right?



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!



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.