Owners of many thrift stores are battling the ancient view of used clothing emporiums as a jumble of items, requiring lots of effort to hunt through their wares. We found a successful warrior in the Renewed Thrift store in Lake City, Florida, just south of the Georgia border off the major north/south route of Interstate 75.
A platoon of volunteers has organized this well-lit, spacious thrift so meticulously that shoppers can breeze through quickly, finding bargains in record time. We certainly did.
This three-year-old store reminded us how smart it is to find your holiday decorations by thrifting. An entire table of Christmas and Hanukah decorations was laid out in front of the check-out counter, with wrapping paper, tableware, festive linens and other new and barely used items at give-away prices. (We found similar bargains on holiday wrapping and children’s books at the nearby Nearly New Consignment shop in downtown Lake City, which is across the town square from City Hall.)
At Renewed, we bought a lovely blue satin fireplace stocking with snowflake decorations for just $1. Since it was senior day, that 10 percent discount gave us the item for just 90 cents. We laughed at the rack bearing the sign “Ugly Christmas Sweaters” because don’t we all like to be amazed at the corny holiday messages and patterns that wind up on actual pieces of clothing? (It turns out that Ugly Christmas Sweater parties, like Halloween costume parties, are sending many new customers to thrift stores.)
The Renewed thrift also was hosting a two-for-one sale on all women’s apparel. Our shopping pal collects skirts with cityscapes on them and found a great example for a mere $3.60. That purchase allowed me to get a black velvet Studio 1940 jacket with flared cuffs and rhinestone clasp for free.
We also scored on a $6 (with the senior discount it was $5.40) black purse with the now necessary outside pockets for cell phones and keys. The costume jewelry area also yielded a versatile red/silver multi-tiered necklace for just $1.50 and a pair of turquoise clip earrings for $2.
The thrift store is operated by a church-related charity, Partners of Hope International, which includes on its campus some housing for pregnant women, a food pantry and support services for homeless people and veterans. The charity also operates medical missions overseas and orphanages in the Honduras and the Philippines.
The unpaved parking lot here is made of smooth sand, which reminded us we were on our way to more bargains in Florida, which we claim is the thrift capital of America. Pro tip: Florida thrifts are a great place to buy winter wear, because no one appears to wear the pristine puffer coats and quilted vests we find in abundance in thrifts here. Florida thrifts are also good places to find fancy sandals and flip-flops.
Renewed Thrift Store, 225 NW Real Terrace, Lake City, FL 32055. 386-438-5597
Open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Wednesday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.