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BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

Hunting for treasure: Tips, hot spots and more for the local thrifter

Aug 29, 2019 03:29PM ● By Carole Ann McKelvey

Ever since I first walked into a neighborhood thrift store in California, I’ve been captivated by the search for unexpected finds. For the avid thrift (a.k.a resale) store shopper or anyone who loves hunting for great bargains, stores throughout Montrose, Delta and Ridgway all feature name-brand clothing, electronics and more at incredible deals.

Upscale resale

Classy Closet in Montrose is a must-stop thrift shop. It’s perfect for anyone seeking a bargain in clothes, jewelry, handbags and shoes for women, men and children at prices that are hard to beat.

The bargain shop has called Montrose home for the past 36 years, despite moving locations several times. Current shopkeeper Leilani Bate is the sixth owner of the little “upscale resale” shop, now located at 1012 E. Main St.

Bate, who grew up in Montrose, worked there as a teenager.

“This very small shop had everything,” Bate said. “Household items, toys, furniture, clothes—she had it all. I worked there for about six months in 1992 and loved it.”

Years later, when the shop went up for sale, Bate recalled her husband saying, “You spend enough money there. You should buy it.”

A shortlist of name brands—barely worn—to be discovered includes J. Jill, Chico’s, Ann Taylor, Calvin Klein, Gap, Eileen Fisher and so many more.

At Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Montrose, a like-new TV could cost only $50. But does it work? At the Habitat stores, there are no worries; they test items to make sure they aren’t duds and they also have a return policy.

Another bargain treasure-trove is Heirlooms for Hospice, located on the main streets in both Delta and Montrose. A recent hot find was an Eileen Fisher top for $8. Do you know how much those go for brand-new? Easily $65-$165.

“I didn’t know that was there. If you hadn’t snapped it up, I would have,” said Delta store manager Amanda Twamley.

On the hunt

Thrift shopping also means being savvy about brands and knowing what you’re looking to find. Heirlooms makes the search a little easier, as the stores are designed and decorated so well you’d think you were shopping in a fancy, expensive, boutique. Plus, you’re shopping for a good cause. Each purchase at Heirlooms for Hospice benefits HopeWest, which provides hospice, grief support and palliative care.

Visit Salvation Army, 1210 N. Townsend Ave., on Wednesdays to find amazing deals on clothing, kitchenware or furniture, as well as senior discounts. The little boutique collection at the front of the store is where manager Marsha Cook sets out special outfits or items. You can find name-brand or even designer clothes and shoes for an unimaginably low price.

Additionally, if you find yourself in need of medical equipment like crutches or grab rails, Salvation Army stores have these in spades.

In Ridgway, you’ll find Second Chance Humane Society Thrift Store at 309 Sherman St., which directly benefits life-saving animal welfare programs and services. The Ridgway thrift shop not only sells clothing but also sporting equipment, furniture, housewares and more.

You can find just about anything on the Western Slope. You never know what spectacular treasures you’ll take home. If you like both shopping and saving money, thrifting is worth a try. And for some of us, the hunt is as much fun as the find.

11 tips to make your thrift shopping experience more successful

  1. No basket? No problem. Most stores let you plop your haul down by the cash register and continue shopping.
  2. Know your brands. Thrift shopping means being savvy about brands and knowing what you’re looking for. You’ll get the hang of this the more you shop, but it’s also nice to have your smartphone handy to compare prices while you’re shopping.
  3. Make a list. Thrift shopping without a clear goal is like grocery shopping on an empty stomach. Make a list of what you’re looking for based on what you already own. This keeps you focused and on budget.
  4. Dress for ease. Many resale stores don’t have adequate fitting rooms, and since some thrift stores don’t issue refunds or exchanges, it’s important to try items on before you buy. Wear a form-fitting tank top and leggings to make trying things on as easy as possible, even if that means changing in the store.
  5. Bring cash. Staying on a budget is important. It is easy to fall into the “but it’s so inexpensive” trap, so determine your budget and bring it in cash.
  6. Buy only what you love. Only purchase items you truly love and know you’re going to wear. But if you absolutely love it, buy it! It likely won’t be there tomorrow.
  7. Make friends with the staff. Once you find a thrift store that fits your style and budget, become friendly with the staff. They can give you valuable information about when new merchandise is set to come in and the types of pieces they are looking to buy for the store.
  8. Inspect the goods. Most thrift store purchases are final sale. To avoid discovering defects too late, inspect each piece before buying it. It’s easy to miss a small hole or a stain in the midst of shopping excitement.
  9. If possible, sell before you buy. If you feel guilty about buying new clothes, opt for thrift stores that also buy and accept donations for charity or do consignments. Making extra money can make your shopping trips extra rewarding.
  10. Master the art of scanning. Rummaging through multiple piles and racks of clothes is time-consuming. To avoid missing out on potential gems, learn to master the art of scanning. Based on what you’re looking for and your preferred color palette and style, scan each rack for pieces that catch your eye. It often takes time to develop this skill, but you’ll get the hang of it.
  11. Make small alterations or get a tailor. Whether it’s new, thrift or vintage, every piece in your closet should fit well. Since preloved items are often one of a kind, you may need to make alterations. For simple modifications like hemming, you can do it yourself or take the piece to the dry cleaner’s. A tailor is helpful, as long as it doesn’t negate the investment.

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