thrift store review: nicollet avenue salvation army

Nicollet Avenue Salvation Army Thrift Store

I find myself at this Salvation Army more than any other in the Twin Cities solely because the travel time from when I turn the lock in my back door to arriving at the store’s front door is approximately three minutes. When I need a quick thrifting fix, as I frequently do, but don’t have a lot of time, also an all-too-often occurrence, this is my spot.

I go here for the basics—clothes hangers (5 for $1), bed frames ($15 for a twin frame for my guest room)—and keep my expectations for finding anything else low. I browse the clothes, jewelry, dishes and bric-brac, but rarely find anything too exciting. Like most other area Salvation Army thrifts, this store stocks a moderate amount of never-been-worn Merona, Xhilaration, Converse One Star and Liz Lange, i.e. Target store brands.

The service is standard, but there’s a lovely new woman who started in the past month, who I’ve found to be very sweet and helpful. In terms of sales, every Friday and Saturday, the store offers dollar days, when all clothing with the weekly tag sale color are $1 each. (Offer does not include shoes or accessories.)

Here’s one of my favorite finds from this shop. Boy did I wear the crap out of this poncho this winter! It’s so warm and I love the rounded brass buttons. Pictured in it is the lovely Mary. She was over one night, got cold, threw it on and then, busted a move. Which of course, I had to document. I think I paid $3.99 for this fringed green and gold beauty.

Vintage Wool Poncho

Go here to find: Your thrift-store basics. Serviceable kitchen goods, sometimes decent furniture, average clothing and shoes. I recall that they had a healthy selection of Christmas items, both new and vintage. They also seem to keep a nice stock of bicycles, both for children and adults, many of them of the older, awesome variety.

Selection/Variety: ♥ ♥

Quality: ♥ ♥

Pricing: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Organization: ♥ ♥ ♥

Customer service: ♥ ♥

Cleanliness: ♥ ♥ ♥

Do they take credit cards? Yep!

While you’re there: In terms of dining, Shorty & Wag’s is across the street and Cocina Latina is next door. Anodyne Coffeehouse is also a hop-and-a-skip south on Nicollet. Drinking wise, you could go to Casey’s. We are talking about south, meaning it’s a beer bar. They have fancy stuff on tap, but Casey’s is not for me, ’cause I can’t stomach beer out of plastic bottles, unless I’m on a boat. In which case, I don’t care, because I’m probably exceptionally happy. Because I’m on a boat.

Shopping-wise, B Squad Vintage is a scant three blocks north up Nicollet, if you feel like shelling out a few more Jacksons for your vintage goodies. This store perpetually stocked with lovely vintage finds, including a reliable selection of dresses, vinyl, T-shirts, et al.

Where it is: 3740 Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis

Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Contact: 612.822.1200

I hope your Tuesday has treated you well. I’m not sure if it was the 3 a.m. thunder or my late afternoon Doubleshot that kept me up last night, but I most definitely didn’t get enough sleep. (Since when I can I not drink coffee past 4 p.m., btw?) Tonight’s plans include [drumroll please] cleaning out my fridge, putting away laundry (story of my life) and paying some bills. I know, I know, so rock ‘n’ roll.

Speaking of that, I melt for this rehearsal take of “If Not For You.” It’s not George’s beard or Bob’s denim-on-denim ‘fit (both are awesome), but it’s just the sweetest little song. And, I’m a sucker for outtakes, B-sides and rehearsal footage of any kind. Anyway, watch & melt. Unless, you know, you have no heart.



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!