Thrift Shopping in a Small Town

Posted On Monday, September 5th, 2011
Filed Under: Looking FLY on a Dime, shopping, Thrift Stores

I frequently have people tell me that only major cities have great
thrift stores. This is one of the biggest thrift myths I’ve  encountered. I constantly reassure people great secondhand shops can be found throughout the country or the world, it’s just a matter of finding a gem. Though I’m in NYC, trust me, I’ve run in to some crappy thrift stores in the Big Apple.

Last week I was visiting family in Ohio and I found two supersized thrift stores, a Salvation Army and Goodwill. The fam and I made a trip to the Salv {7000 Heisler Road, Mentor Ohio} and I was amazed.

Though we were in the middle of a small town, the store was massive and had a great selection.

Like my favorite Salvation Army in NYC {46th St}, this one was super organized, which made shopping easy.

The prices were comparable to what you’d see in a larger city. Dreses ranged from $4-$12, shoes were less than $7 and tops were about $5.

I narrowed my selection down to two dresses.


This sequin beauty {$11} fit me like a glove. But I already have a black sequin dress I have yet to wear from my trip to Wasteland in LA so I didn’t get it.

But this green accordion dress had me at first sight. It’s vintage  Pat Richards and was only $8. However, it has a few stains on it so I’m going to see if I can dye the dress a darker color. I know I always tell you guys not to buy stained items but fingers crossed I can salvage this.

I also picked up some accessories.

Gorgeous earring, $3

Straw purse, $5

And my family even got in on the fun. My aunt and cousin found shoes and a purse, respectively.  And my little cousins scored cute purses. Hopefully I’m grooming mini thrift lovers.

So when you’re tempted to write a small town off as not having any thrift store options, use my experience as an example. Awesome thrift stores are out there, regardless of your location. Check for a national chain like Salvation Army or Goodwill or a smaller mom and pop shop. The Thrift Shopper let’s you search for shops by zip code.

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15 thoughts on “Thrift Shopping in a Small Town

  1. Both dresses are beautiful! I hope you can salvage the green dress.  I love thrifitng in  other states, I am going to a small town in NC in a couple weeks,  I already have my thrift stores mapped out! lol.

  2. You have such restraint- that sequined dress looked incredible on you.  I find that some of the really tiny stores in the middle of nowhere have the best stuff.  Little old ladies are cleaning out their closets and there aren’t people to buy it all up to resell it.  Plus, thee can be a lot of kitsch in the little towns.   

  3. I’ve actually found that smaller towns have better thrift stores because they are not all picked over by the hipsters  because that crowd is lessened by the number of the population.  When I went to North Carolina to a small town called Peachland, the thrift stores were AMAZING! I found top after top after skirt after dress after shoes, whereas here in the city I usually have to hunt for things I like or go to several stores in 1 day.

  4. Your little cousins are adorable, and they have a great eye for purses too! 

    Speaking of good stores, I wanted to tell you about the new Beacon’s Closet that opened four days ago on 13th St. (btw 5th and 6th Aves, much closer to 5th) in Manhattan.  I found some great snow boots, which is terrific since my feet are so small (size 5-5 1/2), but there are all sorts of nice shoes and boots, and in large sizes (a bunch that I admired were women’s 10) too!  I thought of you when I came across this really cute short-sleeved military-inspired blazer that was clearly reclaimed grayish teal lightweight sweatshirt fabric, plus cute dark brown buttons and a soft mustard fabric trim.  I was tempted, but I couldn’t think of an outfit I could create with my existing wardrobe, but I figured you could!  So if you go, check out the blues/greens shirt rack towards the front of the store 🙂  The prices are significantly higher than thrift stores like the Salvation Army, but lower or at least equivalent to many Manhattan vintage stores I’ve been to, and some modern dresses were $11 (lower than they would be at my standby, Housing Works!)

    This leads me to a question for you, though.  I’m looking for a place to sell some clothing, and I wonder if you know a place that pays well.  At Beacon’s Closet, they’ll give you 35% of the price they’ll charge in cash, 55% of that price in store credit, which sounds ok, but, here’s the thing (I gave them this example, and this was their response): if you bring in a brand-new item that would retail for $300, they will charge customers $75, so the seller gets a maximum of $41.25 back for that $300 item, and that’s store credit.  So what I’m asking is if you know if there’s a place that offers a better return; it strikes me that Beacon’s Closet is great for buyers (I mean, if you had the money, $75 for something that would cost $300 in a department store is a great deal!), but because of that, it isn’t so great for sellers….

    Thank you!

    • Thanks for info on the new Beacon’s location, I’ll have to check it out!

      Hmm, as far as places that pay well, I can’t think of any. Let me know if you come across any that do and I’ll be sure to share with other readers! 

  5. Thanks for this post — being from a small town and currently living in a small town had me thinking in this mindset. I went thrifting yesterday at a Salvation Army in a major city for the Labor Day sale and came across some good finds, but nothing to amazing to overshadow the great finds I have found at my local thrift stores. Though good small town thrift stores are harder to come by they do hold some really great things.

  6. OMG, I am soooooooooooooooo in love with that vintage dress. Oxiclean has this gel stick I SWEAR by. http://www.oxiclean.com/pre-treatment/Products/oxiclean-max-force-gel-stick.aspx Try it on the stains before you dye the dress. I have saved some old and thrifted clothes with it. 

    • Thanks! I actually just discovered the OxiClean gel stick yesterday so I’m going to give it a try. *fingers crossed*

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