Oh my stars…it’s so hot The Thrifty Snicker almost didn’t stop for the all-neighborhood garage sale near Ben White. But glad she did as she scored two fiesta salad plates for just fifty cents each!
This post contains a bit of a lagniappe, which just makes perfect sense given that you’re probably drooping over your computer with a glass of iced tea nearby. It’s much too hot to do anything else so Her Thriftiness thought you might enjoy this link to the G-rated version of the Thrift Song. Her Thriftiness thanks her legions of fans (legions = best friend from college) for bringing it to her attention.
Now for the review…
Your Mistress of Markdown tries very hard not to play favorites; thrift stores are by definition magical places to shop, but she just loves, loves, loves Thrift Town in the strip center at Manchaca and West Stassney Lane – right next to Cherry Creek Catfish.
Now, before you even think about shopping there, take another sip of that iced tea and sign up on their website to be a VIP Shopper (www.thrifttown.com) The occasional email almost always includes a budget-bolstering coupon – $5 off a $10 purchase was the last one Her Thriftiness received. They’ll notify you of upcoming sales, contests, and frequent shopper deals without bombarding your in-box with junk. Better still, download their app for go-to glimpses of what’s happening, including which color tag is 50% off this week!
Austin’s Thrift Town boasts a big store, a big parking lot and terrific deals. They should have it down to a science given that this outfit is a Sacramento-based “chain” with stores in six Texas cities and three other states. Her Thriftiness has been to three of the six Lone Star locations….she’s thinking, ROAD TRIP!
Enter through the automatic door and prepare for a department store-size experience. Their advertising claims each store stocks 4,000 new items every day but whether or not that’s accurate doesn’t matter…merchandise is priced to fly right back out that door. On a recent visit nice t-shirts were priced at $1.99 as were baby outfits – some with tags. Your Bargain Blogger scored a boy’s Izod polo shirt for 99 cents and a pair of 100% cotton pillow shams for $2.99 each. Of particular note is Thrift Town’s practice of displaying clothes by type, size AND color – a system that just warms the cockles of her bargain-loving heart (are you listening thrift store competitors??). If you’re looking for a pair of tan shorts, size 6, you don’t want to comb through miles of racks to find them. And given its size it’s easy to find a decent selection of specialty items like scrubs, maternity wear, nightgowns and robes, and prom dresses.
Colored tags make it easy to identify an item’s price and each week one of the colors is 50% off. Unfortunately The Thriftstress seldom lucks onto the magic colored tag but what with Thrift Town prices it’s doubtful much merchandise hangs around long enough to achieve half-off status. If you manage to get your buying up to $10 (and at these prices that’s more of a challenge than you might imagine!) you’re one frequent shopper card punch closer to a $5 gift card.
Clothes are only a part of the allure. Electronics, toys, soft goods, a nice book selection, and plenty of furniture catch the eye. House-wares are usually on the skimpy side but most of the dishes and knick-knacks are featured on shelves near the front of the store by color. The store also has a large themed display near the cash register with nicer stock creating an eye-catching presentation. On her last visit the theme was “July 4” with patriotic goodies and red, white and blue clothes and accessories.
So called “better clothes” are sequestered near the front and priced higher of course, although Her Thriftiness finds some of what constitutes “better” a bit puzzling. Other hiccups include shoes that are sorted by color but not size and junior clothes mixed liberally among women’s clothes. As an experienced donation sorter herself, Her Thriftiness knows the latter is an easy mistake to make but with a professional sorting staff like those who work at this store, it’s just annoying to find the perfect top only to realize it’s only perfect for your eleven-year-old niece.
On the positive side, floor employees help distinguish Thrift Town from other bargain businesses. These discount darlings actually talk with customers and customers feel free to offer opinions and insights. According to store manager, Lori, the store really does belong to its customers – whether they’re looking for vintage fashions, furnishing a new apartment, or dressing a child for school. “We want customers to know that they can talk with our employees or with me about what they like and don’t like and we will listen.” On a recent visit customers were giving feedback to each other about the store’s no-return policy. Rather loudly. But on this subject Her Thriftiness agrees with the store – it’s a THRIFT store for crying out loud. Either try it on or take your chances.
Thrift Town is a for-profit enterprise that operates a bit differently from other thrifts that support a local charity. The store does not accept donations from the public but instead buys goods that are donated to The Arc of Texas, a partnership that provides a third of The Arc’s operating budget. For more information on that fine program visit www.thearcoftexas.org. Charity partners have received $250,000,000 (yup, that’s million) in Thrift Town’s 41 year history!
Thrift Town is located at 5726 Manchaca Rd., Austin, 78745 and is open 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. every day except Sunday when store hours are 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
As much as it pains the Discount Diva to admit it, she doesn’t know everything thrift. What are your favorite places and best bargains?
Until the next find!
The Thrifty Snicker