The Great Gainesville Thrift Escapade

Updated April 2009

One day, a couple years ago, as I was exiting the Goodwill on SW 34th Street, a lady asked me if I knew of any other thrift stores in town, since she was new here and didn't know her way around yet. I gave her directions to the two other thrift shops that I could remember off the top of my head, Haven Hospice Attic on NW 8th Avenue, and the Humane Society thrift store on NW 6th Street.

A few hours later, I vaguely remembered that there was a Salvation Army somewhere in town, with maybe some Christian-church-based something-or-other thrift nearby. It was then I realized that I wasn't sure of the depth and breadth of the thrifts in this town, yet I considered myself a dedicated scrounger!

This called for some intensive research and plan formulation.

OK, so I just went to Google Maps and typed in "thrift stores near Gainesville." Go on, try it. I'll wait. Do you see how many there are? Did you have any idea? I didn't. So I made a list, ordered them by driving route, and invited my trusty Allan along for the ride.

Surprisingly, he said yes. So the next Saturday, with list in hand, we went off in search of good thrifting. Between the hours of 11 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. we visited 12 stores total (and passed by one -- it was closed). I took notes as we went along to help me remember which ones to visit again. I also took home some righteous loot. In the spirit of good friendship and universal good will, I pass them on to you, my fellow thrifters.

When thrifting, it helps me if I make a list to keep me focused, as my "oooh, shiny" response can get a little overwhelming otherwise. This is how Allan and I were able to speed through so many shops in so little time. Also, we split up the list and touch with our eyes, not our hands -- it goes faster that way.


so without further ado...

Gainesville Thrift and Consignment in Review

Rated on a scale of 1 (awful) to 10 (awesome)

Gainesville Community Ministry Thrift Shop
5001 NW 34th St # B
Tu-F 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
M & Sa 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

The second location is not as nice, but is still full of good stuff:
1108 N Main Street
M-F 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Cleanliness of Store=10
Cool Stuff=7
Condition of Merchandise=8

Notes: This thrifting oasis is larger on the inside than it looks from the sidewalk. It is well organized and has a little of everything. It has a craft shelf full of vintage sewing patterns, yarn, notions, and fabric. Clothing is about average, but it is clean, in good condition, and organized by size and type. They even have a plus-sized clothes rack with sizes up to 26. It has an interesting selection of kitchen items but not much by way of furniture. I love this store. Nice people, great prices, will sometimes give a discount if you are getting a lot of stuff, and they are always having a markdown sale. One last thing: they have THE 50-CENT RACK -- if it's on the rack, it's 50 cents. When my mother came to visit, she found an awesome indian-blanket style jacket (which I wish I had seen and claimed first).

Goodwill Industries GNV South
3520 SW 34th St
M-Sa 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Su 12-5 p.m.

Cleanliness of Store=7
Cool Stuff=3
Condition of Merchandise=3

Notes: Huge selection of everything. Often overpriced. I get irked that they up the prices on "boutique brands" -- c'mon folks, St. John's Bay is NOT a boutique brand. You will need to inspect your selections for rips & tears before leaving the store, because they sometimes don't. Goodwill is reliable for household standards: glasses, kitchen goods, and t-shirts. The clothing tends to the mundane, with little that is unique or classy to choose from. Clothing is organized by, get this, COLOR! That means you have no idea if there is anything in your size unless you sift through everything -- and we are talking about a warehouse here, folks. In the past, I've gotten some decent shoes, handbags, plain t-shirts, and ordinary skirts here.

Habitat for Humanity
2317 SW 13th St
M-Sa 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Cleanliness of Store=8
Cool Stuff=2
Condition of Merchandise=5

Notes: Some clothes, some small appliances, sometimes great furniture, too. Always great prices. Don't forget the back room -- it has lots of stuff that might come in handy if you are remodeling. If you are into tools and construction materials, you may bump the "Cool Stuff" score from a 2 to a 6, as there is a bunch of this stuff in the back room.

Haven Hospice Attic Upscale Resale
300 NW 8th Avenue
M-Sa 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Cleanliness of Store=10
Cool Stuff=6
Condition of Merchandise=8

Notes: When Hospice Attic consolidated their two stores into one new, bigger location, they did it right. They have tons of stuff, but there is space to walk between the racks. My favorite part of the store is the craft supplies shelf. Yes, they sort out the craft goodies, so you don't have to pick through everything. The furniture is usually in very good shape, but I've yet to buy any here. On recent trips here I've gotten a psychedelic granny square afgan, a groovy retro top (circa 1970), purse handles, knitting needles, and yarn. I've also found some nice skirts and shoes here. Not only is clothing sorted by size, they have a "plus-sized section," too. Oh yeah, I like this store.

Humane Society of Alachua County Inc
2031 NW 6th St
M 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Tu-Sa 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Cleanliness of Store=5
Cool Stuff=8
Condition of Merchandise=6

Notes: Another of my regular stops, this smallish store is packed to the gills with goodies. They always seem to have interesting things to browse through. Best features: books organized by subject matter (roughly), costume jewelry, and a craft supplies section. Previous purchases have included an awesome vintage lamp, a London fog coat, a le creuset frying pan, knitting patterns, crochet hooks, yarn, and wacky jewelry. Prices are excellent (read: dirt cheap) and the people who work and volunteer there are extremely nice. If you need pet supplies, they also have a new merchandise section.

Junior League Thrift Shop
430 N Main St
M-Sa 9:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Cleanliness of Store=8
Cool Stuff=0
Condition of Merchandise=6

Notes: I really need to go back this weekend and see if they have improved any. The last time I stopped in they were having a $1 bag sale (always a plus in my book). However, there was nothing to bag! The shop lady said it was because they were about to switch out the merchandise for spring and were clearing the floor. I say: What were they thinking! We live in Florida -- we wear "spring" clothing year round. Just put the loot out already and let me look at it.

Outreach Thrift Store
125 NW 23rd Ave
M-Sa 9:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Su 1:30 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Cleanliness of Store=5
Cool Stuff=7
Condition of Merchandise=4

Notes: This cluttered, dingy retail space is filled with buried treasure -- probably because folks take one look inside and walk back out again. If you don't mind putting a little TLC into some rehab, you can pick up some excellent stuff here -- not designer, but definitely name-brand. Most of the clothing is organized by size, and there is a rack of plus-sized clothing. They never seem to have much in the way of kitchen stuff. Previous purchases include yarn, wrap-around Indian print skirt, and doc martens.

Peaceful Paths Thrift Store
2131 N. W. 6th St.
M-F 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Overall= 4
Cleanliness of Store= 5
Cool Stuff= 4
Condition of Merchandise= 5

Notes: I haven't been in in a while, since they stopped being open on Saturdays. I remember the shop lady being nice and helping me sort through the handkerchiefs to find come cool silk bandannas. I also bought a tablecloth here once, but that was years ago -- when they were on Main Street.

Salvation Army Thrift Store
55 NW 23rd Ave
M-Sa 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Cleanliness of Store=1
Cool Stuff=1
Condition of Merchandise=1

Notes: Dear [insert deity of your choice], please don't ever make me go back there again. I should have known something was up when I gashed my leg on a piece of metal sticking up out of the ground in the parking lot. The employees are surly, the bathroom is gross (no soap either), and I'm pretty sure that they don't wash or wipe stuff down before putting it out. The signage on the racks doesn't match what's on them and the prices seem high for the condition of the items.

Thrift Saint Patrick
2010 NW 6th St
M-F 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Sa 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Cleanliness of Store=8
Cool Stuff=6
Condition of Merchandise=7

Notes: Growing rapidly (they opened in late 2008). Prices seem fair. It is staffed by very nice people who were happy to help me search for things on my list. Volunteer staffing keeps their hours a little flaky, so be sure to call first!


The next few are consignment shops, not thrift stores.
The prices are a little higher, but the offerings are slightly more, shall we say, edited.


4322 NW 23rd Ave

I've been in a couple of times -- it's a fun place. Clothing veers between the extremely unique (I nearly bought a 1970s velvet caftan) and the basic (a whole rack of black skirts). Last trip, I got a pair of bright blue gloves with little bows on the wrists. There is an entire wall of consigned designer purses that made me drool with consumer lust. The owner is also a real sweetheart.

Fifi's of Gainesville
3501 SW 2 Avenue
M-F 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Sa 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Sandy D. writes: Well, I am a Fifi's fan. They have new clothing and some that is very gently used. They have wonderful, stylish work clothes if you have to dress nicely. The prices are good for designer clothes and they have a semi-annual sale that is great. I get a majority of my work clothes there and shoes as well. It is also great if you need a ball gown or a bridesmaid dress sort of thing that you will only wear once -- chances are they will have it.

Loop de Loop
238 SW 4th Ave

I can't believe it took me so long to find this place! I love it! Everything there was retro-Kitch, like a curated exhibit of cool, and the clothing and knick knacks were AWESOME. The only downside is that the prices are more "collectable" and less "thrift store". The upside is that they have GLOVES and HATS. It's a vintage and ecclectic wonderland full of books, clothes, household items, toys, and hand-made items from local artists!

Plato's Closet
3333 SW 34th St
M-Sa 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Su 12 p.m. - 6 p.m.

I'm neither tragically hip nor fashionably thin enough for this "unique teen fashion franchise", so I didn't find anything here I wanted to drop money on. If you are a size 0-4, and you don't mind being six months behind the latest trends, you'd probably like the place.

Sandy's Consignment Boutique
2906 NW 13th St
M-Sa 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Su 12:00-5 p.m.

I can't believe I went so long without someone taking me aside to say, "Jane, my dear, good friend, you simply must go to Sandy's. You will certainly love it." Clothing is organized by size, color, and type of clothing (all size 12 purple blouses are next to each other on the same rack). The two girls working the counter were sweet and helpful (and funny). There were only a few things in my size, but as I went up to the counter get into a fitting room, I found out where the rest of them were -- being purchased by another woman who is exactly my size. The merchandise is top quality, and it is priced to move. Also, their selection of shoes is fantastic.


The stores I've listed below I've either not been to or it's been long enough since I've visited that I don't feel qualified to comment. If you've visited one of the shops below, or if you know of ones not on the list, and you would like to share your thoughts on them, email me at "jeorje (-at-) gmail (-dot-) com" & I'll post it. I reserve the right to ignore my shoddy grammar whilst editing yours.


Carol's Consignment Shop
3209 SW 26th Ter

Fashion Exchange
2032 NW 6th Street
M Closed
Tu-F 10:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Sa 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Su Closed

Flashbacks Recycled Fashions Inc
509 NW 10th Ave
M-Sa 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
This was my shop of choice back when it was on Main Street.
I thought it had closed several years ago, when it had only moved.

Goodwill Industries GNV North
2624 NW 13th St
M-Sa 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Su 12-5 p.m.

Idella's Community Consignment
117 SE 15th St

Peek-A-Boo Kids Consignment
602 NW 75th St # B

Persona Vintage Clothing & Costumes
1023 W University Ave
M-Sa 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Su 1 a.m. - 5 p.m.

2nd Life Thrift Shop
1240 NW 21 Avenue
M-Sa 10:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Sophie's Closet
1203 SW 16 Avenue
M-F 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Sa 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Treasure Box Thrift Store
2222 NW 6th St

Urban Thread (3 locations)
1117 W University Ave
1504 NW 13th St
(This location I've been to, but not since September 2009.
I found my favorite purple skirt there --
it was an Anthropologie catalog return.)
15 NW Santa Fe Blvd
High Springs, FL

Weecycle Children's
5110 NW 34th St
M-Sa 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.