In recent years I’ve noticed a shift from the traditional thrift store, one where I have to dig through piles of grimy junk to find treasure, to more organized and curated environments. The Salvation Army in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago used to be my go-to thrift, it was two stories and always packed with shoppers perusing the shelves of dishes, racks of clothing and rows of shoes. Although I enjoyed the old store, I was happy to be introduced to what the Salvation Army has dubbed the “New Image of Thrift.” Their newly built 30,000 square foot store on Clybourn Avenue serves as the physical execution of their concept, it features a brightly lit, open space with items organized by departments, a large jewelry counter with a dedicated cashier, all items priced with stickers rather than grease pencils or pierced with industrial staples and best of all, fitting rooms.
Fortunately prices have stayed relatively the same and the organization still puts out all its high quality items like Tiffany & Co necklaces, Louis Vuitton handbags and other designer pieces rather than “saving” them for sale online like other thrift store chains.
Alongside the regular donated items are unused housewares, clothing and accessories from retail stores like Target. I noticed a French Press Bodum coffee pot for $3, a queen sized comforter set for $12 and colorful summer shoes for $6. Unfortunately I did not spy many vintage pieces of women’s clothing but did see several 1950s purses and the Bric-A-Brac and housewares section was rife with pre-1970s goodies. There’s a small vinyl album collection inside the book section and it also appears that Target donates new DVDs and Blu-Ray movies.
I was lucky enough to be invited to a special preview of the new store this Monday, of course I shopped while taking photos of the store– you can see my finds at the end of this post.
If you’re located in Chicago, the store is having a preview tomorrow, Thursday July 25th from 6-9PM for its Instagram and Facebook followers. The store officially opens to the public at 7AM on Friday, July 26th with a ribbon cutting ceremony presided over Alderman Scott Waguespack. The address of the new Salvation Army thrift store is 2258 N. Clybourn Ave in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago. It’s near the Fullerton and Ashland bus routes.
I only had 30 minutes to shop the sprawling store so raced from department to department, most of my purchases came from the Bric-a-Brac /Housewares area. On future visits I hope to spend more time in the book section, since this Salvation Army is located near DePaul University there will always be dozens of novels and scholastic tomes.
Above photo: Henry, my roommate’s cat, investigates a pristine set of 1960s silver rimmed cocktail glasses in their original carrier. I don’t think they’re Dorothy Thorpe but are in her style, of course they remind me of Don Draper and “Mad Men”.
Even though I haven’t purchased a record player yet, I’m building up my vinyl collection– of course I had to snag Bob Dylan, The Kinks and two Beatles albums.
Yes, finally found a vintage item with my name on it! I don’t normally collect Tiki items but had to get the “Tiki Leilani” ceramic mug.
A never-opened copy of “Moby Dick” with a gorgeous cover and a vintage catalogue from an Andrew Wyeth exhibition.
Not vintage, but a cheerful set of nesting dishes for my kitchen.
A tiny framed paint-by-numbers, I’ve never come across one this size.
A newer sculptural vase by Nambe and a pottery jar made by Heath ceramics.
It’s hard to tell but the pocket watch is huge (twice the size of a normal one) and was made in Great Britain. I’m wonder if it was some kind of store display? The purse is plastic with a pink netting and is from the 1950s.
A vintage handpainted Japanese Kokeshi doll for my collection and a kitschy cat made out of felt and an old bottle. I own a few vintage “recycled crafts” booklets but have never come across the end product until now!
What is your take on the new image of thrift? Do you miss the thrill of the hunt or do you appreciate the amenities like clean, organized products and dressing rooms?