The thrill of the thrift

When wandering the aisles at your local thrift store, keep your eyes on the prize and you might find something you can’t track down at any local department store.

More and more people are taking advantage of deals at area thrift shops. Some do it because of cheap prices while others do it because they find unique items. Kicker photo illustration/Erica Yetman


Erica Yetman

Thrift stores are overflowing with one-of-a-kind, character-filled clothing, knick-knacks and thingamabobs. Each item has a story to be imagined by whoever takes it home with them next.

Brittany Power is a student and an avid second-hand shopper, and she knows a thing or two about the treasures that can be found inside thrift store walls.

“My mom and dad always loved garage sales, thrift shopping, antique shopping … There was always this enjoyment with items that had character,” said Power. “They never needed the best of the best, or wanted the best of the best, but something with character in it.

“There are so many interesting things you can find, whether it be an expensive vase or a beautiful outfit, or a bunch of coats for a coat drive … There’s so many things that people just donate away that can be used for other organizations.”

Power considers herself to be “thrift savvy”. She scours the aisles at thrift stores for a variety of riches, including household appliances like kitchenware, different types of literature such as graphic novels and vintage picture frames. Her apartment walls are filled with unique and interesting art pieces with frames to match.

One of the many unique frames that can be found in Brittany Powers apartment. She enjoys finding interesting frames to place her favourite art pieces in. Submitted photo

“You can find some pretty awesome things; things with a lot of potential,” said Power. “I love the hunt, the exploration, trying to find something and I just don’t seem to get that when I’m in a (retail) store. There’s that excitement, that relaxation. There’s always something new when you go there, if you’re really hunting for those deals, that’s where it pays off.”

Power also enjoys the social aspect of thrift shopping, and while she does go alone, she prefers to go with a group of close friends who enjoy scavenging through the racks to share opinions.

While some people thrift for the thrill of it, others do it because they are faced with no other choice.

Amanda Penton is a mother to a young boy, a working professional and a self-proclaimed fashion lover. She says she shops at thrift stores to stay on budget while keeping herself and her child well dressed and in clothes that make them both happy and comfortable.

Penton began thrift shopping out of necessity. When she started her career as a marketing manager, she had to invest in a wardrobe to match and she knew that wouldn’t be cheap.

“You still have to survive,” Penton said. “Society dictates that to get a job you have to look a certain way. You have a child and he needs to have proper clothes and all that … and you can’t afford these things, to buy these things from a retail store.

“To keep my bank account from screaming at me, I started thrifting, and I still do.”

But Power offers some stern advice for anyone looking to venture into the second-hand world.

“Always make sure to wash your purchases.”