Treasure City Thrift

The Thrifty Snicker should know better.  Time and again she’s dropped into Treasure City Thrift only to leave empty-handed and a bit disappointed.  Was it the prices?  The clutter?  The modest size of the store, which translates to minimal merchandise?  Obviously it was the store’s fault…and Her Thriftiness was on the verge of writing it off.  Then she visited two Saturdays in a row and it was as though the Thrift Fairy had dropped off a bag of goodies that were just for her!  The Diva of Discount couldn’t turn around without tripping over Exactly What She Had Been Looking For.

 It was the perfect example of thriftendipity which only reinforces the thrifter’s motto: you never know what you’ll find.  Just because one visit’s a dud doesn’t mean the next one won’t be a veritable treasure hunt.

Viva la revolution!  Treasure City Thrift stands tall for the oppressed, the incarcerated, the disenfranchised, the needy, and the bargain hunter.  Austin’s only co-op thrift store, a small cadre of staff and volunteers run the show, decisions are made by consensus and profits support a variety of groups and organizations working for grassroots change.  Its premier project is the Inside Books Project – an initiative that provides educational and reading material to people in prison.  Check out the store’s website ( for store events and news including its participation in the famous Really Really Free Market held at Chestnut Community Park on the last Sunday of every month and the occasional 25¢ day.  In fact, the next 25¢ day is coming up soon on December 21!   

The store is located at 2142 East 7th Street – hard to miss the pink front wall with the store’s name over the door.  Parking is sometimes a bit of a challenge but circle the block a couple of times; something’s bound to come open.  The Thriftmeister is not a big fan of the ancient electronics that are the first thing noticed upon entering.  But then, she’s not shopping for electronics.  More appealing are the shelves of odds and ends, books, frames, office supplies, and miscellany.  Over half the store is devoted to clothes at true thrift store prices and the androgynous mannequins (peoplequins?) are intentional and part of the store’s commitment to equality.  On a recent visit there was a rack of great LBDs and a gaggle of Gap tees priced at $2.00 each.  Tops and bottoms run $3-$5; prices are consistent although you’ll drop the same bill for a pair of Aeropostale jeans as for the raggedy ones with paint stains.  House-ware hunters may be less lucky as non-clothing items tend to be pricey and often in poor shape.  But don’t miss the half-price shelf and keep your eyes peeled as one person’s trash city is another’s treasure city.

Although Halloween has come and gone this year, customers in need of a costume should shop here first as The Snicker never fails to be entertained by the creative array of off-kilter couture whether wacky vintage or eye-popping dress up attire.  Want to cross Elvis with a gorilla?  Turn Snow White into a vampire pirate?  You can probably find what you need at Treasure City Thrift.    And adding to the whole shop’s east side vibe is the Indie rock usually selected by whoever is working the register. 

The store’s motto is “Solidarity, Not Charity” but with its commitment to zero waste, landfill diversion, mutual aid, and just generally making the world a better place, you may want to make it a favorite charity.  Gather up your donatables and head over anytime they’re open – Monday-Friday, 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Saturday, 11:00 a .m. to 6:00 p.m. and Sunday, noon to 6:00 p.m.  If you need more info on the store or any of the store’s projects, give ‘em a jingle at 512.524.2820.

 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


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