Thrift and resale shopping has skyrocketed in popularity in the last few years, leaving the industry’s mark evident from Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” blaring through every adolescent’s speakers, to statistics released through the Association of Resale Professionals confirming resale “continues to be one of the fastest-growing segments of retail.”
Though Starkville does not have the large variety of options available in larger cities, the college town does have some options for thrifting and discount stores.
The benefits of thrift shopping include both the affordable prices and the charitable nature of the experience since the proceeds benefit non-profit organizations. For local thrift shopping, local consumers can browse through the Palmer Home Thrift Store, the local Salvation Army thrift store and the Starkville Habitat for Humanity Restore and Warehouse.
The Palmer Home Thrift Store benefits the Palmer Home for Children, which offers care for children who are in difficult life situations. The local Salvation Army thrift store benefits the Salvation Army USA, which aids many different public needs, such as disaster relief, domestic abuse support, advocation for human rights and assistance for the unemployed. The Starkville Habitat for Humanity Restore and Warehouse helps community members overcome difficult residential situations.
There are also additional weekly sales at these affordable stores.
Salvation Army has a punch card; after costumers spend $5 or more 10 times in a row, they will receive $5 off of their next purchase. Tuesday sales include 10% off for senior citizens. The middle of the week brings “half-price Wednesdays” for all clothes, shoes and purses. Thursdays are student discount days, where students can show their I.D. card and receive 20% off of their entire purchase.
The Palmer Home Thrift store offers 10% to senior citizens on Wednesdays. According to Lasondra Page, the store’s assistant manager, there might even be a Black Friday sale this year. Page encourages everyone in the Starkville area to visit the store and take a look at their selection.
“Some people turn their nose up because we are a thrift store, but when you come in and actually look at the things we have here—oh my, there’s a lot of goodies,” Page said.
She also offered her advice to those who are looking for these “goodies.”
“If you see it, you need to get it, because when you look back, it will be gone,” Page said.
Page made a point to emphasize the core motivation of the store.
“Everyone needs to know that everything we do is 100% for the kids,” Page said.
Price-conscious shoppers who want to find unworn items can shop at discount stores. Among Starkville’s discount store options are Bargain Hunt and Dirt Cheap.
Starkville Dirt Cheap shoppers need to be willing to dig through massive piles of random items, as the store is highly disorganized compared to most discount stores. For those who are willing to shift through the store’ app, called Dirt Cheap Deal Finder, will find it to be especially helpful in pricing the items through its barcode scanner.
Sabrina Ray, a sales clerk at Dirt Cheap, offered advice to potential costumers.
“You have to hunt to find the good deals. You need to have patience,” Ray said.
Bargain Hunt is more organized and has higher-quality products than Dirt Cheap for only a slight increase in prices. Bargain Hunt is also conveniently located in the same shopping area as the Palmer Home Thrift Store, so shoppers can go between the two fairly easily.
Last, but certainly not least, Revolution Consignment gives Starkville shoppers the option of sifting through gently worn clothes that have already been checked for quality. Consignment stores, unlike thrift stores, profits both the consignment store and the previous owner of the item. Revolution Consignment boasts of receiving an average of approximately 100 or more items a day, according to John Baker, a sales associate at the shop. Items are both new trends and vintage classics, appealing to an array of customers.
Mackinzie Riley, a senior biological sciences major, is passionate about thrift shopping. So passionate, in fact, that the Mississippi State University student manages her own thrifting business on the side.
Riley has been running the Starkville-based thrifting business, called Refined Rewind Thrift, through Instagram for around nine months. During this time, the account has gained 1,779 followers, and Riley has posted about 60 items through the platform.
Riley works as an interim between the thrifter and the store. She does the hard work of the “treasure hunting” through the local thrift stores, finding quality products and reselling them on the account. She noted her biggest tip for those trying out this method of shopping.
“It’s hard to look for one certain thing. I have tried that before, but what you end up finding just really varies a lot, so I don’t necessarily look at brand names. That’s what I tried at first, but some of my favorite things aren’t brand names. You have to look at items objectively. Go in with an open mind, because that’s really the fun part of it,” Riley said.
Around 60-70% of Riley’s personal closet is thrifted, and she frequents the Palmer Home Thrift store the most because they have the largest selection. Riley said she loves the unique t-shirt selection and pointed out some of her favorite “finds” have been the eclectic t-shirts from these stores. Riley loves the element of surprise in the process.
“I don’t look for anything in particular when I go. It just kind of depends. That’s what I love about it—you never know what you’re going to find,” Riley said.
Additionally, the benefits of shopping second-hand go beyond one’s closet, as Riley noted.
“It’s a really sustainable way to shop. The main thing that’s best about thrifting is finding clothes you can wear and enjoy for a long time, and it’s good to find clothes that you aren’t going to have to just keep buying,” she said.
If shoppers can find no other reason to consider thrifting, Riley added one last benefit of this unconventional shopping method.
“It’s also a great way to find unique items that are really specific and unique to who you are. It helps you find things that everyone else isn’t wearing,” Riley said.
Thrift and discount shopping is no straight-and-narrow path, but with enough searching and dedication, Starkville shoppers will likely find some fashionable gems hidden in Starkville’s small-town selection.