by Melody Briscoe
It’s no secret the economy’s gone belly up. We’ve been told that it’s improving, but the people who still have no jobs and are scraping to get by know better. Times are hard and every penny counts. Everyone wants to know the best ways to save money.
I feel fortunate that my parents introduced me to thrift shopping at an early age. I can count on one hand how many times I have spent more than five dollars on a blouse or skirt.
If I have anything in my closet that was purchased at full price, I can assure you my aunt or mother bought it for me and that it probably came from a clearance rack. As a child, I was embarrassed about going to thrift stores but, as I have gotten older, I can appreciate my parents for teaching me the importance of saving money.
Birmingham has some wonderful thrift stores, where you don’t have to spend a fortune for nice things. I have explored many of them recently, and the following is my admittedly personal list of the ones I enjoy frequenting.
Mission Possible. 1560 Cooper Hill Road, Eastwood area. (205) 956-5659. Mon.-Sat. 9 a.m.-7 p.m. www.jimmiehalemission.com. Other area location: Pinson.
If you like books and movies as much as I do, this is a great store. It has a huge collection of books, VHS tapes and records. It also has a large collection of nice clothes. I especially like the fact that it has a plus-size section for women. I hate going into a store and finding that they don’t have my size.
America’s Thrift Store. 218 Second Ave. Southwest, Alabaster. Mon.-Sat. 7:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. (205) 664-0777. www.americasthrift.com. Other area locations: Huffman, Gardendale, Jasper and Midfield.
This store has a large collection of books, clothes, shoes, furniture and knick-knacks, as well as some interesting jewelry. However, while I have always found clothes in my size, I do wish they had a bigger selection of plus-size clothing. I have always thought that ATS had a good collection of records, but I was rather disappointed in the selection on my last few visits. The store has a small collection of comic books that seem overpriced.
Salvation Army. 76 Green Springs Highway, Homewood. Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. (205) 942-8484. www.salvationarmyusa.org. Other area locations: Hoover, Tarrant.
I really enjoy the Homewood Salvation Army store. They always have a great collection of clothes, though I’ve been disappointed with their stock of shoes and jewelry. The store always has a nice selection of records at good prices. The Hoover location has a large selection of clothes and shoes, but I wasn’t impressed with their stock of records.
Plato’s Closet.1713 Montgomery Highway, Suite 109, Hoover. Mon-Sat 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sun. noon-5 p.m. (205) 444-1516. www.platosclosethoover.com. Other area location: Trussville.
Plato’s Closet is not strictly a thrift store. The store buys, sells and trades brand-name, “gently used” teen and young adult clothing. It is a great place for parents who don’t want to spend a fortune to help their teens and tweens look hip for school. If Miley Cyrus is wearing something, there is a good chance there is something similar to be found here. You can also bring your old clothes in for cash. Check their web site for details.
Lovelady Thrift Store. 7720 Ludington Lane, in the old Circuit City location near Eastwood Village. Mon-Sat. 9 a.m.- 9 p.m. (205) 836-3121. www.loveladythrift.com
This recently opened store is huge. The clothes are well-organized, and the store has large dressing rooms. Lovelady also has a huge selection of books and movies. My only complaint was that there were no records and not many CDs. In one visit, I bought two sweaters, three dresses and two pairs of shoes—all for 20 bucks.
What’s On 2nd? 2306 Second Ave. North. Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (205) 322-2688
Steve Gilmer’s popular collectibles shop is not strictly a thrift store, but I couldn’t resist including it. Gilmer’s shop features three levels of interesting records, comic books, T-shirts and other clothes. The store has a strong collection of comic books for only one dollar each. It also has a large, reasonably priced collection of records, as well as old magazines, postcards, and movie and television memorabilia. Even if you don’t buy anything, it’s a wonderful place to explore. However, I don’t think anyone could go in and not buy at least one item.
In other articles coming soon, I will tell you about consignment stores in the area and about bargain and thrift shopping online.
Melody Briscoe is an editorial assistant with Birmingham Weekly. Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org