Wednesday, May 03, 2006

My comments on the thrift shop list

I've visited most of the thrift shops in my second post on this blog. This post is a commentary on those shops; merchandise type, quality & variety, prices & quality of customer service & who the thrift shop profits benefit.
Boaz &Ruth_ I've not yet been to B&R but I understand it carries mostly household furnishings & accessories. The profits benefit B&;R, which is a Christian outreach of successful business women mentoring their disadvantaged sisters. The 'sisters' run the store as part of the mentoring process. It's in a rough but slowly gentrifying neighborhood. Near a busline.

Clothes Rack I and II: . CRI is a Carytown shop run by the Junior League. Clothes tend to be expensive but they have frequent sales. It is a good shop to find preppy style clothes & work/interview clothes in good condition, in smaller sizes (2-10 are abundant!) The best deals are in household goods. Customer service is usually good. Get on their email list for sale notifications.
Near a busline.
Diversity Thrift - This store is HUGE! It's in an old warehouse in an out-of-the-way commercial district. Customer service is polite. Prices are good & reduced regularly. Best selection of used computers & electronics & you get a 30-day return & money-back guarantee on those goods. Some vintage & bric-a-brac items tend to be over-priced. You pay by check without a hassle. Benefits ROSMY. Not near a busline.
Family Thrift & Fantastic Thrift - These stores used to benefit Grace House but I am not sure who benefits now. Both stores are too crowded & lack decent parking space. Huge variety of goods, prices are good on non-premium items & are reduced regularly, but pricing can be arbitrary & premium (boutique) goods can carry premium, antique store prices. You must pay for boutique items in the boutique &; non-boutique items at the front check-out, so if you buy items from both areas, you have to check out twice. THAT is ridiculous and unneeded in one small, over-crowded store. Service can be (but is not always) very rude. You can not pay by check and you must check bags at the door. Near a busline.
Goodwill - Benefits Goodwill Industries, which trains and hires disabled individuals. I've only been to a few of the Goodwills. All will accept checks.
1. Fountain Square _ Good variety in clothes, decent prices, okay customer service.
2. Southside Midlothian _ same as above
3. Ashland _Same as above. Often has a decent furniture selection and many Target overstock items.
4. Warehouse_ Items that didn't sell at the original stores. Clothes & linens are unsorted & are in bins & are sold by the pound. Lots of electronics & books. Open only on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
5. Boutique store_This store started out okay but became way over-priced in just a short time. If you are looking for clothing bargains, skip this store & go across the street to Burlington Coat Factory for new, brand-name clothing and accessories at bargain prices.
Clothes at the Goodwill Boutique are not always 'boutique' level, which to me, means good designer or vintage clothing. Clothes & shoes & accessories & a few household goods only.

Some Goodwills are on not very good buslines. Others are are not on any busline.
6.HfH Restore - New and used home improvement & construction items at bargain prices to benefit Habitat for Humanity.
Near a busline. It's in a very rough neighborhood, so be careful!
7. For the Love of Jesus & FTLOJ East. I"ve not yet been to FTLOJ East. The Southside FTLOJ is a HUGE store. Books are set up in bookstore-type displays according to category &; with easy chairs so you can sit & browse the reading material. Prices tend to be low but some bric-a-brac is over-priced. Most clothing is $1.00. Customer service is polite. The store is in a rough neighborhood, but the guys that work there will escort you to your car if you ask! Benefits the Rock Christian drug &; alcohol rehab programs & various low income Christian community services. Near a not very good busline.
8. Massey Cancer Center Shop -A tiny shop with odd hours in a far suburban strip mall. For a tiny shop, this place has great variety, good quality & good prices! The women's clothing tends to small sizes. I got a large, great condition, almost new TV for $20.00 at MCVMCC. Good customer service. They accept checks but not debit or credit cards. The hours are Wednesday-Saturday-10am-3pm. The shop's profits benefit MCV's Massey Cancer Center. Not on or near any busline.
9.Salvation Army - I've mostly shopped at the central location. Good variety,decent prices and polite service. Free loaves of bread, no purchase necessary! Not on a busline but within walking distance of a not-very-frequent bus.
11. Superflea _I've not shopped here, but I'm told it has a wide variety of vendors & merchandise with widely varied pricing. On a busline.
This is a for-profit venture and the proceeds benefit the sellers.
12. Thrifty Quaker - A tiny corner shop in a Midlothian strip mall. Great prices that are regularly reduced. Outstanding customer service. They serve free coffee and lemonade! Profits benefit small. local charities that don't tend to get much other funding or government support. Unsold items are donated to other charities, including some individuals who help the poor & homeless.

Not on a busline but the express for John Tyler Community College passes the area.

My personal recommendations:
-If you want great variety go for Fantastic, Family and Diversity Thrifts or any Goodwill or Salvation Army.
-If you want quality clothing for work or formal or semi-formal occasions, go to Clothes Rack,  or MCVCC.
-If you want great bargains, shop MCVCC, Thrifty Quaker, Diversity, Goodwill Warehouse or For the Love of Jesus.
-If you want electronics, Diversity is the best store. Fantastic & Family carry a good selection but with no guarantees.
-If you want to support some great LOCAL charities, shop at Diversity, FTLOJ, TQ, & B & R.
-If you need building and home restoration supplies, check out ReStore and FTLOJ.
-If you want to avoid being ripped off, avoid Goodwill Boutique and the boutiques inside Fantastic and Family Thrifts. They are very expensive & the merchandise is usually not worth the price. Definitely not THRIFT stores!
-For the all around best attitude & service & heart for charity, Thrifty Quaker is your store!


Melissa said...

Thanks for this informative post. What is the address for Fantastics? I am near Richmond but don't know where it is. Thanks...melissa

MaryEL said...

Melissa, The Fantastic Thrift is on West Main Street at Meadow Street, 1914 West Main Street, to be exact.
Mary EL

Stephanie Hopkins said...

I really like how informative this blog post is. I love thrift shopping. I think it is super cool that you list whether or not they are near the bus lines. Woo for saving gas money driving to these places. However, I personally find the color combination and font jumbled and hard to read. Maybe put some spacing between the paragraphs. Keep up the great work!