Thrift store guide
Note: The contents of this guide were checked for accuracy when this article was updated on Feb. 24, 2003 at 5:09 a.m. We continually update the thousands of articles on OnMilwaukee.com, but it's possible some details, specials and offers may have changed. As always, we recommend you call first if you have specific questions for the businesses mentioned in the guide.
Secondhand shopping can save you money. Wouldn't you rather pay 95¢ for a perfect pinstriped shirt from Eddie Bauer, than the $39.95 catalog price? For some, the thrill isn't in the bargains, but in rifling through generations of junk and finding treasures. And of course there are the environmental benefits of re-using.
Here are some tips:
Mr. and Mrs. Cleans. Although thrift stores are making great strides toward improved merchandise displays, window dressings and overall cleanliness, many are far from immaculate. If you have disaffection for dust, bits of crud or unpleasant smells, thrifting may not be for you. To combat the dirt, pack some handi-wipes and hand lotion.
Don't wear your Sunday best. First, you don't want to get the aforementioned crud on your clothes. In an opposite world to department stores, you will also likely get treated better by the staff, get the scoop on upcoming sales, etc.
Leave your friend at home. He or she will just slow you down. You'll also avoid arguments if you don't both simultaneously dive for that great leather jacket marked at a mere $20.
Organization. Clothes are usually organized by color and/or type. Some stores have special sections for extra large clothing, maternity and the like. Furniture is often in the basement or the back of the store or in the basement.
Pricing -- it's a mystery. Most stores have daily or monthly sales based on the type of item (e.g. jackets) or the color of the price tag. The signs near the register tell you what is on sale that day but sometimes deciphering them isn't worth the effort unless its a big ticket item such as furniture. When you're ready to pay, estimate the price of all your items based on the tags and the signs and then smile happily when the cashier gives you change.
Paying. Bring cash. Some stores take checks or credit cards (such as Salvation Army stores), but most do not.
Check out. Bring your patience and good manners. The actual checkout process can also be slow because of the previously mentioned sign confusion, language differences between customers and employees, older cash registers and even older patrons.
Come Again. Be prepared to revisit stores several times before you find a "treasure." As a sign at the North Avenue Value Village advises: "We will have what you need -- eventually. We just don't know when."
Here is a list of some thrift stores in the Milwaukee area. The larger chains have regular hours, while those operated by churches, Junior Leagues, etc. have much more limited hours. The church-sponsored stores usually hold a blockbuster rummage sale during the year as well.
1725 S. 13th St.
8601 S. Howell Ave., Oak Creek
313 Bank St., Waukesha
6341 S. 27th St., Franklin
7711 W. Greenfield Ave., West Allis
4747 W. Bradley Rd., Brown Deer
6055 N. 91st St.
5675 S. 27th St.
St. Vincent DePaul(aka St. Vinny)
1862 Fond du Lac Ave.
7125 W. Greenfield Ave.
2320 W. Lincoln Ave.
324 W. North Ave
324 W. North Ave.
729 S. Layton Blvd.
3100 E. Layton Ave.
Cash only, Closed Sundays. Not huge, but good selection of new and vintage clothes organized by type. Not much for knicknacks, a basement full of well-priced furniture. Sales include half-price clothing.
Disabled American Veterans
1730 S. 13th St.
2430 N. Murray Ave.
7632 W. Hampton Ave.
A former Kohl's food store, the National Avenue location was better when it was a Vietnam Vets thrift, but interesting merchandise can still be found. The usual color tag specials of the day; it's well organized. Clothes, household goods. Not much jewelry or furniture. Handy ATM inside.
7619 W. National Ave.
10220 W. Silver Spring Dr.
St. Jude the Apostle
734 Glenview Ave.
St. Mark's Episcopal Church
2618 N. Hackett Ave.
St. Mary's Thrift Shop
13000 Watertown Plank Rd., Elm Grove
St. Paul's Thrift Shop
1324 N. Marshall St.
1725 N. 54th St.
Thrifty said: I know that St. Mark's Episcopal Church Thrift Shop (intersection of Downer, Belleview & Hackett on the East Side) is open Tuesdays and Saturdays from 10 am to Noon.
Lori said: I was unable to print the list of thrift stores and addresses(?)I had to write them down with pen and paper.
Joy said: I would like to have hours of the church thrift stores. The Phone numbers too, since they might change and I'm from Racine
Jana said: The bee--Um, if you look at the top of the article, you will see: Published Feb. 24, 2003 at 5:09 a.m.
The Bee said: So when was this article written? The Goodwill store on south 27th has been closed for a while, and the Thriftmart on 76th & National has been a video store for YEARS already. Get off your duffs and drive around once in while, folks!
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