Are Thrift Stores a Bust for Resellers?

In general prices have been going up in thrift stores. The internet is to blame. Savvy store managers are now researching items online and have a better sense of their resell value. Some stores now feature eBay /Poshmark pricing. Take today for example. I found a basic Fossil leather purse for $29 at my neighborhood thrift store. Yikes! I checked and similar pre-owned Fossil purses were selling for $20-45 online.

I don’t begrudge thrift stores making more money but they need to remember who their customers are: low-income folks, thrifty folks and resellers. If stores continue to raise prices, folks will stop going. That’s how it is for me and the St. Vincent de Paul thrift store several towns away. I rarely go and haven’t bought anything there in years. And I’m not the only one. They’ve received some very interesting Yelp reviews!

But despite rising prices and increasing competition (or is that my imagination?) I still believe that thrift stores can form a viable part of a reseller’s sourcing. At least they are for me if I go frequently! And that’s key. I go three to four times a week, always when the store opens for the day getting first crack at the fresh merchandise.

Here are a few of my recent thrift store finds…

A vintage Chinese sewing basket with the old coins and glass beads. These are fairly common, but charming nonetheless.

At a new-to-me thrift store near Half Moon Bay, CA, I found Jesus! He’s vintage, made of chalkware and marked Japan. Not worth much, but I only paid $2.00.

Okay, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure what to make of this metal sitar-shaped box. So quirky and wabi sabi! But I decided to give it a try in my store. We’ll see if it sells.

I couldn’t resist this silver bowl with smaller matching bowls. They have an Anglo-Indian look to me and are such a cool set. They are marked “Silver”, but I have no pretense that they are sterling silver or even continental silver. Likely silver plate, but I’ll test them. Would be wild if they were really silver!!!

I really like the aesthetic of this mid-century Turi Design Tor Viking teapot, made in Norway. Other than some tea stains inside (which I hope to remove) it’s in nice condition. Typically they sell in the $30-$40 range. (I paid $8.00.) But I’m not 100% sure I’ll put this in my store or exchange it. Besides having to spend time cleaning it, I am trying to veer away from bigger, breakable items. (I’m getting weary of packaging up breakables!)

And this plaster rococo box would look great on a nightstand or a coffee table.

So no home runs. Not like my recent estate sale finds. But still some interesting bread-and-butter finds. Worth the effort. And still part of my Etsy store sourcing.

Would love to hear about your recent thrift store experiences.

As always, happy hunting,



  1. Love your blog, Thanks from Canada for keeping it going -always interested in your finds. Just wanted to say many would consider any object from Figgjo Flint like your teapot a home run! Their works are very collectible, and not all that easy to find. Love your store as well – you have a great eye.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Unfortunately thrift stores have become a bust. Especially Goodwill. Not only have they raised prices to near retail in the store, but it’s retail for the trash items. The good items get sent off to distribution centers to be auctioned off online. I still go and find the occasional one or two items but even last year I could go and fill a cart. It’s not the case. Lately when I go into a thrift store now the shelves are completely filled and overflowing because the prices are so high people have stopped going.


    1. Hi Brandon. Yes, things have gotten tougher. I went to my local Goodwill today and found three things I wanted to buy but they were all priced too high for me. This store has been a gold mine for me over the years, but today I walked out empty handed as I do more often not!


      1. What a perfect statement. “Walk out empty handed more often than not”.
        I will say that the “mom and pop” thrift stores are still the way to go. Most of them run daily or weekly sales. I’ve also found that because of their size they need to keep their prices lower because they don’t have the space that chain thrift stores do. I have all but written off the chain retail outlets. There are three Goodwills and one Salvation Army within 10 miles of my house that I used to visit at least twice per week each. Now I go to Salvation Army once every two weeks and a goodwill every two months. And mostly still walk out empty-handed LOL.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s