Holidays are celebrated as fun marketing tools in thrift and consignment stores nationwide. As America gets ready to honor St. Patrick on March 17, we’ve seen thrift store windows and racks filled with clothing, purses and shoes in every shade of green.
Take, for example, the Bethesda Bargain Box in Delray Beach, FL. One of the rare downtown thrifts with free adjacent parking, this 34-year-old city mainstay was festooned this week with shamrocks, shiny green paper hats and all manner of green decorations to honor the holiday.
Volunteers helpfully had pulled many green garments on special racks. Color-coordinated racks aren’t just for holidays – the store organizes items both by size and by color.
“We get a lot of regulars, so we need to change things up,” explained Michelle Penver, manager for the last 9 years (shown above), as she surveyed the festive green overload.
The store is so popular that on Wednesdays, when seniors receive an extra 20 percent off, there are lines of customers waiting for the doors to open. Penver stations six volunteers on the floor, armed with calculators, to help thrifty seniors determine their bargains. Two registers run constantly on those Wednesdays.
Light-hearted holidays, like St. Patrick’s Day, bring customers looking for color-appropriate accessories at a discount price. At Christmas, there’s a live Santa Claus greeting shoppers.
“We’re the place to buy those extras for a holiday party,” she said.
The Bargain Box supports the local Bethesda Hospital Auxiliary, and its proceeds offsets expenses for a child care center for hospital workers, plus funding continuing education for hospital employees and buying medical equipment. The hospital is part of Baptist Health South.
This is a full-service thrift, thanks to its 46 volunteers, who often take garments home to make repairs. There’s a washer and dryer on-site. A retired florist organizes donated artificial flowers into show-stopping arrangements.
There are frequent 50 percent off sales for all clothing, especially “in season” in this resort town, due to the large number of donations that are given then. We were tempted by a hot pink cardigan from The Quacker Factory, embroidered with green palm trees, marked down to $9.50 from its original $19 tag. Labels such as Pendleton, Carlisle and Talbots are frequently on the racks.
The store’s backroom Barn contains a staggering amount of housewares, books, furniture, china and art.
Another longtime Delray Beach resale shop, Second Time Around, also has decorated in green for the upcoming holiday. Just a mile from city center, this small but mighty consignment store has the highest-end labels (Chanel suits for $899 and Burberry trench coats for $399), but there’s also plenty in stock for the shopper on a moderate budget. There are sale racks inside, with prices ranging from $20 to $100, and two racks outside filled with items for $10.
The offerings chiefly are better labels for clothing, shoes, jewelry and handbags. A fun assortment of green items was grouped for St. Patrick’s Day and the staff had just weathered a frantically busy everything-is-15-percent-off day.
The store is not affiliated with thrift stores of the same name in Minnesota, New Jersey and elsewhere, but has operated under the same name for more than three decades. Consigners receive 40 percent of the sales price, although Chanel, Hermès and other luxury brands have negotiable rates. After 90 days, consigners either retrieve their items or the shop donates them to a local charity helping disadvantaged women.
We watched a shopper make a beeline for a Kelly green leather shoulder bag, scoring an accessory perfect for this holiday and then some. At $21, this attractive purse was a definite festive find.
Just three doors down from this long-time consignment shop is a four-month-old luxury consignment store, Affluent Finds. The store moved here after 8 years in nearby Lake Worth and carries mostly small sizes (nothing over size 14) and many pairs of high-end shoes.
But thrifty shoppers better have hefty wallets – very little is under $100 and even sale rack items were $100 to $199. Labels were top-notch (Bluemarine, Escada, Halston Heritage, Jimmy Choo), but be prepared to part with more than a wee bit of green here.
Bethesda Bargain Box, 12 NE 5th Ave., Delray Beach, FL 33483. 561-278-2401
Winter hours, Oct. 1 – April 30: Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Second Time Around, 801 George Bush Blvd., Delray Beach, FL 33483. 561-278-0493
Monday -Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Affluent Finds, 809 George Bush Blvd., Delray Beach, FL 33483. 561-588-7772. Affluentfinds.com
Monday – Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday noon to 5 p.m.