Sandy Erdman: Thrift shop vs. mall — where do you shop?

January 21, 2019
Glass Fire King casserole dishes found by Melissa Placzek, Red Wing, on a trip with Sandy.

Is it strange that I enjoy antique shops and thrift shops more than going to the mall?

No — many folks do frequent thrift shops and antique malls simply because they have some of the vintage, antiques, collectibles, sometimes new handcrafted items and the prices are not bad either.

I presented this question on my Facebook page to see some comments about it. These are just a few of the responses.

Shayna Dais, Winona: “I like thrift shops because you get more for your money and I like the idea of reusing items instead of filling the landfills. I like the one-of-a-kind items you can find in an antique mall and the variety that each vendor brings to the mix. I also like a great bargain!”

Betty Butters, Stewartville: “I love thrift stores vs. mall for many reasons. I like one-of-a-kind finds, I like to re-purpose, all the finds have stories, I love to save money and I run into a totally different crowd then the mall crowd. Better quality items most the time also, fun to add to collections.”

Joan Zenke, Nodine: “Truly one-of-a-kind items are found in antiques shops. The history lessons are free at most shops, too. Vintage clothing, kitchen items and tools are always a good buy.”

Judy Ratz, Winona: “I love shopping at thrift/consignment shops and antique stores. You never know what you’re going to find at these kinds of places. When I go to buy gifts for Christmas, birthdays or whatever, I tend to buy gift certificates to a place where I would want to shop myself, NOT a big box store or mall.”

Deb Lunde Muleski, West Salem, Wis.: “I shop at antique malls/shops or thrift stores much more than any other store. Love all the interesting items you can find!”

Laura Strobush, part owner of Marla’s, Wabasha: “I find many folks come to this shop because they tell me our items are one-of-a-kind. Folks like to find a lot of re-furbished or remade items (flipped items) that are so affordable that oftentimes people actually offer more than what the asking price is for the item. Customers say that we are one of the best and continue to come back vs. the mall shops!”

Susan Waughtal, Oronoco: “Thrift stores and antique stores for sure! I recently went to the Mall of America for a meeting — my first time there in about 15 years — and was not tempted to enter a single store. Recently, I was tickled to find a fabulous silver rooster brooch at Savers (Thrift Store, Rochester). A 1940s Coro, just my style! I first began thrift store shopping as a personal resolution to reduce my own consumerism — not to purchase anything new for a year. Then I did it a second year because it was so much fun! I love the treasure-hunt aspect of shopping at thrift stores, antique shops and from Craigslist. I treasure the character, value and built-in history of my finds.”

Angie Pehler, Fountain City, Wis.: “I like looking for stuff at Goodwill and Salvation Army. I once found a Robinson Roseville Pottery three-gallon water cooler for $14! I’ve also found pottery plates and crocks. I have found many vintage items from beer trays, collectible tins, enamelware and old chairs. I love looking at the assorted flowers to use as displays around my booth (at) Angie’s Vintage Treasures, Treasures Under Sugar Loaf, Winona.”

Melissa Placzek, author and collector, Red Wing: “I can walk just a few blocks to some charming little antique shops and thrift stores. I always tell folks that there is something magical about thrifting in this city; I don’t exactly know why that is. I’ve been to a lot of antique stores and they just aren’t the same. There’s just something about Red Wing. I have been on thrift store tours by bus to the Twin Cities, and although they really do have some amazing shops up in those parts, they don’t captivate me like the shops that are close by and always come home with some amazing deals.”

So, no it is not unusual to frequent and enjoy these shops, even if you are not really on the hunt for something special, since you may just find that deal that is valued around $20 apiece and you are paying less than a dollar apiece. What a deal! You know you are hooked and will be back fishing for more of those great fish (deals).

More information: “Thrift Shopping: Discovering Bargains and Hidden Treasures,” by Sandy Donovan and the “Picker’s Bible: How to pick antiques like the pros,” by Joe Willard.

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