As the season for garage sales and yard sales comes to a close with the first few flakes of snow, where do hardcore thrifty people head? To the local thrift stores, of course!
The city of Fridley itself is strangely lacking in these frugal family stores, so Fridley Patch went on a scavenger hunt to surrounding areas. There are 13 such stores close by on the east side of the Mississippi River.
Before heading out, check out Hennepin County's Choose to Reuse and their Facebook page for their online coupon book that is good until Nov. 30. It includes a 15 percent off purchase coupon at the Eastside Thrift, a 25 percent off purchase coupon at The Salvation Army, a 25 percent off your purchase at Hidden Treasures, and a 50 percent off one item regularly priced at $25 or less at Goodwill. There are other awesome coupons in it also.
Let's start with the at 3050 Coon Rapids Blvd in Coon Rapids. This store just opened recently and you never know what Craig and Brian will have on the floor. Clothing items for adults are $2 each, and childrens' are $1. Senior citizen's day is Wednesday with a 20 percent discount. Store hours are 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday, Saturday 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Across the street at 3071 Coon Rapids Blvd. NW is Goodwill. Wednesday is Senior Day with a 25 percent discount, and parents luck out with Toddler Thursday where all children's clothing and toys are 50 percent off. Color Tag sales are Sunday and Monday, and Tuesday is $1.49 day for selected tag colors. Store hours are 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday.
Off to Blaine and the Salvation Army at 10747 University Ave. NE. They are open from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday, and are only open for donations on Sundays 11 a.m.-5 p.m. They have various specials and list them on their Facebook page.
Next is another Blaine stop, at the new Goodwill at 11701 Ulysses Ln. NE. They have the same hours and specials as the Coon Rapids store.
Anoka County Community Action Progam's Twice Nice Thrift Store just moved to a new Lexington location at 9201 S. Highway Dr. "I love this store, and all the people that come in," said cashier Deserae Lydy, who started as a volunteer and has moved to a paid position. "We have some awesome deals." The store is open Monday-Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The store is closed Thursday and Sunday.
Tucked away in the corner of a small strip mall, the Moundsview Community Thrift Store is a hidden gem located at 2408 County Rd. I. Dawn Huffman started the store almost a year ago to help out the community and to donate to the homeless. "I love volunteering here", Gary Gombus said while checking out a customer who was buying kids' clothing. "Lots of different people wander in here at any time." Closed on Monday, the store is open Tuesday-Friday from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. and Saturday from noon-8 p.m.
Next on the agenda is the Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity ReStore, located at 510 W. County Rd. D in New Brighton. You won't find the usual knick-knacks or tchotchkes here, but it is a goldmine for those who are doing home renovation, with surplus and like-new building materials sold below retail prices. Open Tuesday-Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Closed Sunday and Monday.
Be ready for a crowd at the next stop: The Goodwill Outlet Store at 2505 University Ave. W., St. Paul, right off Hwy. 280. Parking is hard to find here, but it can be worth the trouble. This isn't your normal Goodwill where there is a place for everything and shirts are organized by color. Merchandise is sold by the pound and this is a digger's delight. Don't spend too much time looking for that left shoe, though, or you may miss something better! Hours are Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
The thrift store run by East Side Neighborhood Services is at 1928 Central Ave. NE. While a thrift store, they provide an arena for job seekers with their training programs for high school students, senior citizens and those entering the job market, along with a clothes closet for those needing interiew clothing. Paulette Melby started with them 7 years ago through their Senior Community Service Employment Program and loves the job. "As a senior citizen, finding a job was tough. East Side trained me here so well they had to keep me!", she said. Hours are 10am-6pm Mon-Fri, and 10am-5pm Saturday, closed Sundays. Customer Appreciation Day is Wednesday with all customers getting a 20% discount.
Hidden Treasures Thrift Store at 2915 Pentagon Dr. in St. Anthony, is a non-profit ministry of Masterworks of Minneapolis. 100% of their profit goes to their ministry here and abroad. Store hours are Mon-Fri 10am-7pm, Sat 10am-5pm. Closed Sunday. 20% discount on Mondays for seniors 55 and over.
While the next stop isn't a thrift store, Plums Plus Consignment Boutique is located at 2301 37th Ave NE, Columbia Heights, in the same strip mall as Savers. While not quite thrift store pricing, there are bargains to be had, from the clearance racks to the many discounts offered through their mailing lists and their Facebook Page. Sizes XL-5X name brands and humble prices. Open Tues-Fri 11am-6pm and Sat 11am-4pm. Closed Sunday.
In the strip mall at 2201 37th Ave. NE, is one of the 'big box' thrifts, Unique Thrift Store. This is a for-profit thrift store that purchases goods from nonprofit organizations and resells them. Started in one storefront, they have expanded into the spots formerly occupied by the Heights Liquor Store and a hardware store. Signing up for their VIP program gives you 25 percent off on VIP member days and other specials sent by email. One of their very popular promotions is their holiday sales, such as the one recently held on Veterans Day when everything was 50 percent off. A drawback here is that they mark everything in black grease pencil.
The last stop is Savers at 4849 Central Ave. NE in Columbia Heights, another big-box, for-profit thrift. Their parent company, Savers, Inc., also owns Unique Thrift Stores. Savers has its own club card that you can sign up for online offering the same types of discounts as Unique. They also have the 50 percent off holiday sales.
There are other great thrifts to be found on the other side of the river, such as ARC's Value Village in Brooklyn Center, the Bibles for Missions thrift in Crystal, and Earth Exchange in Maple Grove.