New Orleans: Restoration Thrift

This is the third of Peggy’s reports from The Crescent City:

So many thrift stores do more to help society then just reusing clothing and pleasing thrifty shoppers. Many stores have added projects that further aid their communities.

Restoration Thrift, in New Orleans’ South Ninth Ward, is one. This cheery three-year-old shop sells a variety of clothes and housewares, but also has 60 graduates of Launch NOLA, its school for budding business owners. The thrift store runs classes for would-be entrepreneurs and provides ongoing support for two years to assist the new companies.

Restoration sign2

“We’re helping the local economy and families in our hometown,” said Joy Williams, whose title at the thrift shop is “chief of service.”

One of the fledgling companies it helped, a natural hair product line named The Love of People, will soon be in Whole Foods, Williams noted, showing us a wall of its products and a handsome brochure.

The thrift store also has expanded the appreciated tradition of offering discounts. At Restoration Thrift, it’s 10 percent off on Mondays for out-of-towners, on Tuesdays for students, on Wednesdays for seniors over 62, on Thursday for locals, on Friday for military and government workers and Saturday for teachers and nurses.

There are more spontaneous specials too. We visited on Dollar Pant Day.  Further, any red line through a price tag meant the item was 50 cents. There’s a loyalty program, The Treasure Hunters Club, where shoppers get a point for every dollar spent. After 100 points, shoppers get $5 to spend in the store.

Miss Joy, as she’s known, also isn’t charging refugees from the Florida hurricanes when they shop to replace their clothes and household goods. “People were nice to us in Katrina. I want to do the same.”

The former furniture store relies on three donation boxes for its goods. Donations are so plentiful that the boxes are emptied and sorted three times weekly. We saw brands like Chico’s, Karen Scott, Liz & Co. and Rena Rowan on the well-organized racks and items like bicycles and costumes (Mardi Gras looms). We scored a pink 100% cashmere Ann Taylor sweater for $4.95 and a never-worn with tags Dana Kay grey/pink/black sheath for $6.75. The shop is just north of the French Quarter.

Restoration pink
Cashmere Ann Taylor sweater – $4.95
Restoration dots
New-with-tags sheath for $6.75

The spiritual bent to the shop is not accidental. It is affiliated with St. Roch Community Church and Thrive NOLA, a community nonprofit helping with housing, job training and community improvement.

We particularly like Restoration Thrift’s top five reasons to thrift:

  1. Get brand name clothes at unbeatable prices.
  2. Discover one-of-a-kind treasures.
  3. Fulfill all your Pinterest decorating dreams on a budget.
  4. Feel good knowing your purchase & donations keep tons of clothing, furniture and more out of landfills.
  5. You’ll look good while doing good.

Restoration Thrift, 2025 St. Claude Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70116. 504/322-2643. Open Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

restoration box

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