St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store

Whiskey river take my mind….

Oh my fellow thrifters – Happy New Year to you! A thousand pardons for the inexcusable delay in this most recent posting but The Snicker promises she’ll take good care of you this year. May 2014 bring you a bounty of bargains!

Now for you Willie fans, ditch the ditch weed and hang on to your Stetsons, you’re going to be able to indulge your inner cowgirl this month thanks to St. Vincent de Paul Thrift on South Congress Avenue in the oh-so-hip SoCo strip. More on that in a moment.

This two-story icon to doing good and doing good on the cheap has been an Austin staple for decades now. The (few) dollars you spend here go right to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and the Ladies of Charity of Austin, which in turn, provide money and material goods to Austinites in need. And we’re not talking a handful here; more than 800 clients were served just in December. Folks may have needed utility assistance, a prescription filled, or, as in the case of the folks in the flooded Onion Creek area, clothes and household goods right out of the shop.

But the only things you need to shop here is a love for bargains and adequate time to meander around two stories of donated goodies. Don’t let your phobia about back-in parking deter you; St. P’s has a small parking lot just south of the store for your convenience.

The Thriftstress has been a regular visitor here for the last couple of months and almost always finds something wonderful. The main floor is primarily clothes and they’ve got the goods for men, women and children. For you vintage enthusiasts, this is definitely the place to peruse as entire estates, closets included, are frequently donated by Austin residents. And since those clothes come in with no more fuss and bother than last season’s Sag Harbor, collectible clothes aren’t priced much higher than other merchandise. J’aime beaucoup!

Clothes are displayed by type and color but not by size, a thrift glitch in the Snicker’s learned opinion but not a fatal flaw. Tops are reasonably priced in the $2.50 to $5.00 range and nice skirts and shoes can be had for around $10 including the oh-so-sassy cork wedges looking fine under the pearl-draped chandeliers. In fact, everything looks good under pearl-draped chandeliers including your Diva of Discount. But she was a tiny bit taken aback by the price of jeans – $11 – $15 seems steep for anything short of true designer duds.

Now…for you Willie Nelson fans, St. Vincent de Paul is getting in a load of Willie-themed clothes from his distributer…like NOW! Don’t miss out but you might want to double-check with the store before going in. Any of the helpful clerks can give you the Willie low down, unless they’re killing bugs as was the case on my last visit – but the store’s effervescent manager, Paul, gave Your Thriftstress the head’s up just for you! And as the red-headed stranger himself said, “If you can’t sing, you better have style!”

The back of the first floor has the arts and crafts area – lots of fabric remnants – and household goods like sheets and towels. Your Thriftstress scored a queen-size Ralph Lauren cotton blanket for a happy dance $4 and very nice cotton sheets could be had ranging from $4 for twin to $7 for king. Do you know how much new sheets are going for??

House-wares are at the top of the stairs and major kudos to SVDP for not following the “at least a dollar” trend. Plates could be had for 59¢ and The Snicker picked up a little ceramic for a craft project for a mere quarter. Don’t even get her started on a recent trip to ANOTHER thrift store where the store’s 99¢ tag was right there next to the item’s original $1 price tag. That is NOT thrifty!
House-wares are nicely displayed on clean shelves and up here on the second floor you’ll find electronics, tons of LPs, office supplies, a few items of furniture and other household goods. Nice pieces and collectibles are displayed near the upstairs cash register and friendly folk are on hand to let you peek at whatever you want.

Now in case you think St. Vincent is just another pretty face on the Austin thrift scene, think again frugal fan! During SXSW this Catholic charity shimmies out of its plaid skirt and into its leather jacket and turns into…Vinnie’s Lounge! Yep, St. Vincent de Paul has its own SXSW stage featuring some 25 bands.

SVDP doesn’t have a website, but you can Like them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/St-Vincent-de-Paul-Thrift-Store-Austin-Texas/115653625157025 and get the early word on special events and cool happenings. Besides shopping you’ll want to donate and that’s easy with the drive-through location right there in the adjacent parking lot to the store at 1327 South Congress or the north donation location at 818 W. Yaeger. Store hours (and donation hours) are Monday through Saturday from 9:30 to 5:00 except on First Thursdays when they’re open until 10:00 for the party! All major credit cards are accepted.

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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