I love thrift shops. Some people like to walk through a mall and window shop or wander about a store looking for bargains. Some folks enjoy driving through neighborhoods on a Friday or Saturday morning looking for garage sales. My thing is to take my time and rummage through my local thrift stores.
My reasons are simple. Someone has gone to the trouble of cleaning and sorting and pricing thousands of items in an air conditioned environment. I can shop as little or as much as I desire on any given day and there is more added every day. Bargains abound and you soon learn the marketing methods of your favorite stores.
Most thrift stores use a colored tag method. This allows management to track how long an item has been in the inventory. On sale days certain colored tags are generally offered at half price. I have now learned the best days to show up for the best prices. Another tip is to get to know the managers and volunteers. As they get to know you and what you like to buy they can alert you as to when they may expect certain items.
I have several favorite thrift stores I like to frequent in my area. I will share them with you and the reasons I visit them. The first thrift store on my list is one that is a little out of the way but well worth checking out. The Kiwanis Clubs around Fort Myers in South West Florida operate quite a few thrift stores. The one I like best is in the small town of Lehigh Acres just east of Fort Myers.
The address is 15 Homestead Road South 33936. What makes this thrift store unusual is that they maintain a store site on eBay under Kiwanis Club of Lehigh Acres. You can also access it at www.lehighacreskiwanis.info and this is where they list some of their more interesting items as well as some very low priced bargains. The actual store is the place to shop for gently used furniture and accessories. There are some great prices. I bought my bed at this location. They are open 7 days a week from nine to five and you can reach them at 239-369-8500.
I really love my second choice for a different reason. That is because this is the biggest thrift store I frequent. The Habitat for Humanity of Lee County Florida maintains a thrift store at their warehouse located at 500 Andalusia Blvd. in Cape Coral Florida 33909. True to its name this thrift shop features building materials. Many of the donated items that are not needed to build one of their Habitat homes are sold for cash to help with expenses.
Along with the usual items found at a thrift store you will find just about every item you may need for home repair or construction at the Habitat for Humanity thrift shop. I have seen bath tubs, lighting fixtures, cabinets, doors, windows and even the proverbial kitchen sink. In addition I have found most of those small items like nails and screws that every hand man or woman needs at some time or another.
No list of thrift shops would be complete without a mention of Goodwill Industries. The Goodwill Thrift Stores seem to be everywhere in the South West Florida area. Each one seems to carry the items most desired in their local area. The one I visit the most often is a small one where I have gotten to know most of the staff. It is located at 3010 Lee Blvd in Lehigh Acres 33936.
To me this little store is just right. I can spend 15 minutes or two hours and I seem to find something I can’t live without every time. The staff is super friendly and helpful. Goodwill offers a punch card that gives the holder a $10 credit after ten purchases over $10. The store is on a busy four lane road so it gets a lot of exposure. So I stop by frequently when I am in the area. New merchandise arrives daily and there are many special discount days including days when everything in the store is 50% off.
The last thrift shop I want to share with you is one of my secret places that very few people know about. This thrift shop is located in a retirement community called Presbyterian Homes located at 1301 Woodward Court Lehigh Acres, Florida 33936. It is staffed entirely by volunteers from the residents of Presbyterian Homes so it is only open from 10AM to 3PM Monday, Wednesday and Friday. You can reach them at 239-369-1414.
The great thing about this little shop is very few people outside of Presbyterian Homes know about it because it is not advertised and is located inside the community center. This is a great place to find small home accessories and clothes. My best find there was a brand new life preserver for $3 that I needed for my boat. Since it is hard to find and only open for short hours the merchandise turnover is slower than other thrift shops. However, make it one of your stops because when someone moves out many new items show up.
No matter where you live there should be thrift stores open for your enjoyment and benefit. If you are patient you will eventually find all those items you are looking for at great prices plus you will enjoy the thrill of the hunt even if you do not buy anything.