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

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

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.

WHAT’S GOOD

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.

WHAT’S MEH

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, ittakesavillagempls.org

xo,

Meghan

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.

WHAT’S GOOD

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

xxoo,

Meghan

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!

WHAT’S GOOD

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.

WHAT’S MEH

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.
Selection/Variety:

Quality:

Pricing: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Organization: ♥ ♥

Customer service: ♥ ♥ ♥

Cleanliness:

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, stonesoupthriftshop.org

xxxo,

Meghan