We’ve seen a lot of thrifts, but never one as neat as a pin as the British Heart Foundation shop in downtown Liverpool, England. Every garment was not only tagged with price and size, but it was hung on a hanger with the appropriate little black box size square. Every rack was spaced evenly with items, making shopping easy and a joy.
There was little, except the low prices, to indicate the goods were secondhand.
It’s a small shop with many categories of goods – women’s, men’s and children’s clothing, some housewares and many books, records and CDs. There’s also a large greeting card section because sending cards is a strong tradition here. We visited on the Saturday before “Mothering Day” and the shopkeepers kept reminding shoppers not to shirk their duty and neglect buying a Mother’s Day card.
Also, in that direct British way, there were signs exhorting shoppers and passersby: “FREE Collection of your unwanted things. SAVE LIVES!”
The populace clearly heeds the message, as they’ve given enough goods that the inventory is in pristine condition as well as beautifully organized.
Since rain is a constant, we headed for the coat racks. There were cheery zip up raincoats with price tags under 12 pounds (or under $16 U.S.), many from top retailers like John Lewis. There were a few displays of new items, like fascinator hats and some interesting collections of necklaces and bracelets.
Sweaters were another category with an abundant selection of well-priced and warm cardigans and pullovers. We were particularly drawn to a royal blue cashmere cardigan, in perfect shape, for just 9 pounds (about $12). Clothing is more expensive in the U.K. than America, so these thrift prices are truly bargains.
The charity was founded in 1961 with the motto “Beat Heartbreak Forever” and concentrates on improving research on heart and circulatory issues and access to screening and care for those with heart problems.
There are fully a dozen British Heart Foundation thrift shops in Liverpool and its surrounding suburbs and one across the Mersey River in Birkenhead stocked just with furniture and electrical items.
British Heart Foundation, 10-12 Richmond St., Liverpool L1 1EF. Phone 0151 707 9076. www.bhf.org/uk
Open Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.