Thrift Stores have a timeless appeal. They create the same feeling that fueled the pirates of yore in their quest for doubloons, and later the 99er’s in their quest for gold in California. As for myself; I became a devotee of thrift stores when I was around six years old, when in the late fifties I saw a decorated spinning wheel in the window of the Goodwill store in Fenton, Mi.
Later, living in Florida I saw a drawing in a thrift store in Venice, Florida that I discounted to be a poor replica of a Picasso, only to find out a month later that indeed it was a Picasso worth 10,000.00. My only saving grace in passing up this treasure was the fact that there is another hidden treasure out there somewhere just waiting for me.
In our area of mid-Michigan thrift stores other than the perennial favorites Goodwill and Salivation Army seem to ebb and flow according to the economy. With our present depressed economy in Michigan thrift stores have again begun to sprout. I have enjoyed shopping in all of our local Goodwill and Salvation Army Stores, as well as the many new Thrift Stores that have sprouted up, but the following are my personal favorites.
In Fenton, Michigan is the FARR Thrift Store a thrift shop that has been located at 113 Mill Street, Fenton, Michigan 48430 for at least the last twenty years. FARR run by Fenton Area Resources and Referral helps people in need in the community. Unlike the newer boutique style resale shops the FARR Store reminds me of the traditional thrift shops that require at least a bit of digging to retrieve a treasure. By far the greatest draw of the FARR Store to me is the fact that almost anything is apt to appear, along with a circulating variety of clothing. An example; last summer while dropping off a donation I strolled through the store and spied an oil painting of a woman wearing a large picture hat sitting at an outdoor table. The painting which was about twenty inches by thirty inches though not by a famous artist had a hat and dress that looked like an outfit my mother would have worn in the fifties. Later everyone I showed the painting to wanted it. The price, five dollars. I have also found treasures like fabric panels of Santa Clauses, and a wonderful variety of clothes. Yet another time I called a friend when a small bed exactly like she described was being brought into the store as I drove by. Besides never knowing what you might find at the FARR Store there is also the fact that they help so many people from the donations that they receive. FARR’s phone number is 810-750-6244.
The Salvation Army As Is Thrift Store in Flint, Michigan located at 2200 Dort Highway, 810 235-5001 is another one of my favorite stops. While the Salvation Army Thrift Store located next door has everything from clothes to antiques, the As Is store has everything from used furniture to books to exercise equipment. Some of the treasures I’ve found in the As Is Store include a drawing board, and a great recliner. The regular Salvation Army Stores have a promotion where if you initially purchase a bag for three dollars you can bring your clothing donations in the bag and receive a voucher for 3.00. The trick here is to then take your bag back with you to fill again.
Traveling north on U.S. 23 from Flint in the Birch Run Outlets is a store called Your Fashion Secret. Your Fashion Secret is a division of Goodwill Industries but is certainly not your Grandmother’s Goodwill. This store features brand name clothing, and many interesting accessories. While the prices are a bit higher than the traditional Goodwill there are certainly values to be had. I recently purchased a beautiful large glass bowl trimmed with multi-colored glass beads for three dollars. Your Fashion Secret is located at 12365 South Beyer Road, Birch Run, Michigan 48415-9400 phone 989 624-9934 in the Birch Run Outlets.
Heading farther north to Saginaw, Michigan you come to Bethesda Thrift Shop located at 5119 Gratiot Road, Saginaw, Michigan 48638, phone 989-792-0391. The Bethesda Thrift Shop carries everything from nails to Tuxedos with furniture in between. They usually have a good selection of wedding gowns and accessories even to the bouquet to carry down the aisle. When looking for the unusual this is one of the first places I head.
St Vincent De Paul located at 523 Michigan Avenue in Bay City Michigan 989-893-5772 rounds out my personal top five thrift stores. This St. Vincent Thrift Store is probably the cleanest thrift store you will ever enter. The volunteers actually clean the clothes and other stock before they are put out on the floor. Some of my favorite finds here include a daybed and a beautiful sewing machine in a cabinet with a matching stool. Friends have found designer shoes and clothes and the store has a nice selection of jewelry.
I have found that like the search for buried treasure, the sensation of finding your own personal treasure can give you a wonderful high. The enjoyment of taking a road trip with breaks at these varied shops will at least make for a relaxing day.