Whether they are traditional thrift stores or stores that primarily sell used items, shops across Tampa have been trying to cut down on prices – now students need to cut down on the number of options.
According to NARTS: The Association of Resale Professionals, there has been a 7 percent growth in resale stores over the past two years. The website thethriftshopper.com offers reviews for more than 9,000 U.S. stores based on criteria like cleanliness and customer service, and a forum where thrifters can compare their finds nationwide.
Meanwhile, other stores have run with the thrift store spirit and concentrated on used music, books and movies.
This abundance of secondhand shops may make it hard for students to even decide where to begin. The Oracle visited four of the closest thrift and used specialty stores.
Community Thrift Store
Community Thrift Store on 14244 Nebraska Ave. stands out because of its sheer size, at 30,000 square feet, and its proximity to USF.
Two of the largest sections run parallel to each other, with the array of men’s clothing, suits and jackets across from the store’s book collection. Books range in quality from well-kept copies of Cormac MacCarthy’s “The Road” to old Tim Allen and Bill O’Reilly hardcovers.
Immediately to the right in the store’s entrance are lines of women’s dresses and a stocked shelf full of VHS tapes for vintage video browsing.
Sometimes a little digging is required to uncover treasures – literally with cassette tapes, which are tossed together in a blue plastic bin – but it remains worth stopping by if students can do so before the 7 p.m. closing time.
Best previous finds: A copy of The Clash’s 1980 triple album “Sandinista!” on vinyl for less than 80 cents.
Salvation Army Thrift Store
For students wanting to go on a thrift shopping spree, Salvation Army Thrift Store on 13910 N. Nebraska Ave. stands right next to the plaza containing Community Thrift Store and is a good starting place for first-time thrifters.
Salvation Army’s advantages include a larger selection of furniture than most other local shops and a wide, rather daunting array of clothing. On Wednesdays, clothing is 50 percent off.
This store was even listed by the St. Petersburg Times as one of 25 Tampa locales that every incoming college student should know about.
Best previous finds: A copy of Bob Dylan’s 1965 record “Bringing It All Back Home” for only $1, and shirts in a section entirely devoted to men’s flannel.
Good Kids Village Thrift Store
Good Kids Village Thrift Store offers furniture, clothing and other bargains under its blue roof at cheaper prices than the building’s previous occupant, Pier 1 Imports. Plus, it has an interesting story behind it.
For students, the thrift store’s main appeal is an eclectic collection that includes children’s and adults’ clothing, stacks of video cassettes and an impressive assortment of coffee mugs.
Purchases go toward Hope Children’s Home, a Tampa ministry organization that has housed nearly 5,000 abused or orphaned children over 42 years. Good Kids Village Thrift Store’s manager Greg Lyons lived in the home before operating the business.
The store has a current user rating of 4.6 out of 5 on thethriftshopper.com. However, any interested students should be sure to note the store closes at 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and isn’t open Sunday.
Best previous finds: A good-condition copy of Jack Kerouac’s novel “Lonesome Traveler” for 25 cents.
Mojo Books and Music
If students don’t have any interest in sifting through secondhand clothes or buying any household furniture, they can visit stores like Mojo Books and Music on 2558 E. Fowler Ave. that specialize in used entertainment items.
Although the store’s center is a shelf with new vinyl, thrifters can spend hours in wooden crates containing thousands of used records that span from New Orleans to Moog music – or $1 record crates.
The store’s bookshelves offer used print editions from previous decades that mean both cheaper prices and vintage points.
Mojo Books and Music even has the cramped space of a thrift store – try squeezing in between the DVD budget rack and used CD shelf.
Best previous finds: Two Gabriel Garcia Marquezbooks each under $4.