In short, the answer isâ€¦me! I am a huge fan of the many different types of thrifty stores out there (Salvation Army, Goodwill, second hand consignment shops, vintage sellers on Etsy, etc.) as I have never failed to find the coolest and most unexpected items within their walls.
Those of us who are fans of vintage, repurposing, recycling and upcycling have long been in love with these shops as we can get yards of fabric, or other hidden gems that were formerly loved by another, at dirt cheap prices and transform it into something fun, functional, fabulous (or all of the above).
So when I decided to redo my kitchen recently I knew exactly where I was going to go!
Located right on Broadway in Somerville, Massachusetts, the Salvation Army store in my neighborhood is a great size. They take in and resell donated items such as furniture, dishware, clothing, jackets, accessories (purses, belts, etc.) and many home dÃ©cor items.
I was specifically on the hunt for a red glass vase, and bowls to complete my table setting. Once inside I immediately spotted a candy apple red vase and without hesitation it went right in the cart. Then while looking through the dishes my jaw literally dropped. In the furthest back corner of the bottom shelf were 6 bowls in perfect condition.
The kicker? They are the exact same pattern as the plates I just got for free from my grandparentâ€™s house! Score! But best of all each bowl was only $.99. I was excited to complete the table set for just $7.00 when my ever roving eye happened to spy something I knew to be high quality.
A ways down from the bowls, also on the lower shelf, were 6 perfect condition square, green, heavy duty plates. Now I should explain that my husband wanted square plates all along but the price for them in a retail shop was kind of outrageous, especially when compared to getting round plates for free from my grandparents. When I saw these I thought â€œOoh, perfect size for small food like sushi, Matt will love them!â€
The plates were only $1.49 a piece and when I flipped them over to make sure they were intact I was once again blown away to find they were from Pottery Barn. These could easily fetch upwards of $10 per plate in that store. And I would be buying brand new.
As I approached the counter with my little treasures my smile could not be contained! The gentleman rang me up and for just $16.86 I was going to go home with some remarkable dishware to complete my kitchen tableâ€™s catalog / showroom vibe.
And then it happened.
As another guy behind the counter was wrapping my items in 2 day old Boston Globe newspaper sheets, the guy who rang me up started talking to a woman about why he couldnâ€™t reduce the price of a rug. He said their store was actually losing money and they even had to let people go recently.
He said he was one month down and if it happened for 2 more in a row they would shut him down. My eyes widened at the thought.
Now I like to shop in these places due to my Greenie nature of wanting to reuse as much as possible, I also love to donate to them because you have to give & take of course. But the community where this store is located is a fairly low income neighborhood and I would bet that many of the people who shop at that Salvation Army store do so simply due to financial restraints.
My heart sank and I said a little prayer that they wouldnâ€™t close as it is such a beneficial spot for the community at large. It made me want to start shopping there even more often, using the items I purchase to create items for my shop or home.
I try to consider thrift and vintage stores before big box retail most of the time anyway but this just fueled the flame! If any of you reading happen to be in or around Somerville, Massachusetts I strongly urge you to get on over to the Salvation Army store on Broadway, right in Magoun Square. Maybe Iâ€™ll run into you there!
My kitchen table with the plates and vase (plus handmade napkins I created from salvaged fabric, placematsÂ I made from remnant fabric and vintage cup/saucer sets I won in a blog giveaway)
VeraVague — Black and white and red and YOU all over
ASecondChance — Charcoal grey wool scarf (upcycled from a sweater)
Map of Magoun Square