Recently I had the opportunity to attend a blogger field trip organized by the Savers thrift store chain to kick off the opening of their newest outpost in Orland Park, a suburb of Chicago. I’ve had the fortune to shop at Savers stores in Madison, Wisconsin but didn’t realize they had opened six of their “thrift superstores” in the Chicagoland area in the past 2 years. Even though the company has been around since the 1950s, their recent growth is a testament to a public demand for not only well priced, quality merchandise but also a growing awareness of recycling and more eco-friendly lifestyle choices.
Savers tries hard to reach a variety of demographics and strives to meet the needs of their customers; I saw both vintage-loving young women (including me and my blogger companions!) and families with school-age children shopping the store. What most impressed me about Savers is the clean, well-lit space that’s actually organized like a department store. The aisles are wide and the prices are not written on in grease pencil or permanent marker and everything is tagged securely so there’s never the “no tag, no sale” situation like other thrift stores I’ve shopped. Best of all, the store was well staffed with cheerful employees that were eager to help, no more waiting 20 minutes or more at the jewelry counter. There’s even fitting rooms! Yes, most thrift stores in the city require me to awkwardly try on items over my clothing while hovering by the one mirror in the store so this was a real novelty.
Needless to say I took dozens of photos to record our experience and I’m happy to announce that I’m also doing a blog giveaway in conjunction with Savers. Be sure to scroll down to the end of the entry to see how to enter and WIN!
Since I live in the city, the past 5 years I’ve taken public transit everywhere and thus don’t have a car to drive out to the suburban outposts of Savers. Fortunately they chartered a bus to pick us up from downtown Chicago to whisk us way to Orland Park. It turned out to be a party bus complete with sparkly lights, pop music and a dancing pole. Definitely a fun way to start the day! We were joined by Bridget, the PR spokeswoman for Savers, and celebrity stylist Eric Himel for the day.
Posing inside the bus in our matching heart-shaped sunglasses that were part of a goody bag from Savers.
>>SHOPPING THE STORE
Before hitting Savers we were treated to white wine and a light lunch at a nearby restaurant; while there we chatted about our respective strategies for shopping the store. We joked about waging battle a la the 1990s TV game show, Supermarket Sweep, but since we all have different styles there wasn’t any real worry about competition. I hit the jewelry counter first before combing the racks of dresses.
Rachel of Jag Lever browsing the racks of clothing.
Taneisha of Second City Style loaded up a cart with her finds.
Sarah of Zzouzi Vintage and I are showing off the pieces that Eric found for us in the store– a berry colored suede blazer for me and a cape for Sarah.
Eric thought the blazer would look great belted with a pair of high waisted 1970s style jeans (in my case a jean skirt as I don’t wear jeans).
Sarah rockin’ her cape.
One of the Savers employees enjoys vintage clothing and separates them into their own rack. Fortunately the prices are still the same so I appreciated her curated section.
A neon Western 1990s shirt found in the “Halloween” costume section. Tip for shopping in the fall: there are many vintage gems hiding among the polyester costumes in the Halloween sections.
I liked the color and print of this 1970s dress.
Taneisha snagged this short fur coat, a perfect transition piece into autumn.
There were several aisles of housewares, the 1980s painting above had already been snagged by a happy customer.
Kitschy cat planter, no I didn’t buy it.
Jessie of Mini Penny hit the jackpot of thrifted skirts including the charming Nautical anchor print skirt above.
Her finds hanging from a cart.
Both Sarah and Jessie had carts brimming with finds, they took a few moments to sort through their respective carts and to show off their finds.
Sarah trying on a pretty olive green “safari” style dress.
We all left exhausted yet happy, Jessie was smart and brought a recyclable bag to tote home all her treasures.
Eric also did well, he’s showing off two pairs of leather shoes he found, he also bought two pairs of corduroy pants and an oversized belt buckle. His entire outfit was also previously thrifted at Savers!
Leaving the store with bags and bags of finds.
Sarah resting back on the bus with her thrifted goodies.
Our collective finds.
After being dropped back off in downtown Chicago, we of course had to snap a few outfit photos.
Instagram courtesy of Jessie, I liked this candid shot of me photographing Sarah.
Both Sarah and I went all out and dressed up for the occasion, she’s already wearing a giant vintage lion’s head necklace that she scored at Savers. I actually spied it first at the jewelry counter and knew she would love it.
I’m wearing an early 1960s dress purchased at The Vintage Garage flea market, a vintage flower crown from an Indiana junk shop, a vintage tiered necklace from The Vintage Bazaar flea market and Dr. Scholl’s leather & wood sandals from the Salvation Army.
>>THE THRIFT HAUL
Savers was generous and not only gave us store credit to shop but goody bags stuffed with Mac lipstick, heart shaped sunglasses, a Swatch watch and a little emergency kit.
So what did I find? I scored the two late 1950s/early 1960s circle skirts above, I love the abstract print of the black and white one. The skirts were only $2.99 each!
The berry colored suede blazer that Eric picked out for me.
A gauzy 1970s tea dress also in a berry hue.
Two books including a vintage sewing book from the 1950s.
A few pieces of jewelry including a Mod style lucite ring for 99 cents, a silver tone ring for $1.99, a hand painted pendant on a sterling silver chain for $11.99 and a pair of 1960s earrings for $2.99.
At this time of year there’s a section devoted to new Halloween merchandise that includes everything you’d want for a costume– I snagged two pairs of tights (berry again and a gray) and hair accessories.
My favorite find was this kitschy tile mosaic on wood art piece of a hot air balloon, seems like it’s from the 1960s or 1970s. Not pictured are 2 of my finds, a black leather Coach zip pouch and a bag of plastic fruit I plan to use for my Halloween costume.