Call it what you will: second-hand, vintage or resale, pawn shops or used, consignment or gently worn, estate or garage sales. It all adds up to an explosion of extra-special shopping for discerning buyers who have a knack for knowing how to get in-style and find savings — all while going green and helping the planet.
A look at the online Yellow Pages shows more than 100 resale/consignment shops in the Cleveland area.
One local family’s ventures into vintage and reusable items go back generations — likely way before sustainability became the world’s buzzword.
Sara Dvorak claims the only new things in her Shaker Heights four-bedroom home are the mattresses and bed frames. Her closet, packed with pants, sweaters, dresses and skirts, has not one item purchased at retail price.
She boasts that her Halogen cashmere sweaters cost $4 a piece at Thriftique Showroom, the Bedford Heights thrift store operated by the National Council of Jewish Women/ Cleveland’s (NCJW/Cleveland). The revenue generated from Thriftique sales goes into programming for needy Clevelanders.
“I discovered Thriftique a few years ago as I dropped my son off at WhirlyBall for a birthday party,” she says. “The Showroom was just next door. Now, whenever my children have a party there, I know I’m in for a shopping spree.”
Thriftique Showroom’s inventory of furniture, artwork, clothing (men’s women’s and children’s), housewares, linens, bric-a-brac, electronics, shoes, purses, jewelry and seasonal merchandise consists mostly of donations from the nearly 2,000 members of NCJW/Cleveland. The contributions come primarily from house sales, household redecorating or family deaths.
“It’s a shame, but today’s families aren’t interested in keeping family heirlooms when parents or grandparents pass away,” says Julianne (Julie) Dvorak, Sara’s mother, who does resale shopping throughout Northeast Ohio and Sarasota, Fla.
Julie, a retired librarian in Orange, said that her mom dragged the family to these kinds of stores as she was growing up.
“At Nearly New Shop in University Circle, Planned Parenthood’s store, we found ice skates, snow pants, boots and whatever else she thought we needed,” she says. “She schlepped us to Sokol Hall, garage sales, estate sales, rummage sales and all manner of resale experiences, so buying old was nothing new to her.”
Sara has found Heisey glass candelabra, which comes in seven colors, and other glassware at Thriftique, along with jeans for her children, Sophia, 11, and Henry, 8.
“I paid $3 for well-known-brand (Joe’s) jeans,” she says.
Sara and her mom also frequent a shop located in a Victorian house in Burton for antiques; Consignment Connection in Sarasota, Fla., for great clothes; Refurnishings next to the Hospice of the Western Reserve’s store on Mayfield Road in Lyndhurst; and Revolve Fashion, also on Mayfield, where many of the resale stores, old and new, are located.
“We have also bought clothes at Designer Dress Days, NCJW’s yearly October sale of designer clothing, accessories and furs,” Julie says.
The Dvoraks are passing on their buying habits to the next generation. Sophie buys $1 sweaters and other used clothing items so she can tear them apart and use the fibers, patches or other pieces to make purses and accessories. And, Henry found cleats for a small price at Value World, which has three stores in the region.
A trending tendency to reuse bodes well for the new and not-so-new stores springing up or those expanding their inventory. The buyers can sit back on their expanded wallets knowing their bargains beautified their homes and made their lives greener.
For more info on Thriftique Showroom, visit ncjwcleveland.org/thriftique/shop/.