By Bailey Hovland
In an age where shoppers are becoming more environmentally conscious and vintage fashion from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s are coming back into style, thrift shopping (otherwise known as thrifting) is all the rage. Where else can you find quirky coffee mugs, an endless supply of used books, materials for your latest DIY project and vintage high-rise Levi’s? Not to mention that thrift store items help people reuse unwanted items, keeping waste out of landfills and ensuring that the phrase “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” still holds.
Calm and serenity in the Willmar Lakes Area sponsored by a local lake and a cute mug courtesy of Goodwill.
Goodwill is often the first thrift store that comes to mind when thinking of second-hand shopping. Located on 1st Street in Willmar, Goodwill has just about anything you’d want to find in a thrift store. Shelves and shelves of books? Check. A vintage record section? Check. Rows of clothes? Check. New and used furniture? Check and check. And during the holiday season, Goodwill reorganizes the store to make sure you are ready for the coming festivities. Halloween transforms the front of the store into costume central, featuring clown costumes and Batman suits and so much more. Christmas has the store picking out all of the holiday sweaters, from classic to gaudy to downright ugly. And if you’d rather donate than buy, the garage door on the right-hand side of the building gives you an easy way to drop off all your gently loved items.
New 2 You Thrift Store, also on 1st Street in Willmar, is a locally owned and operated thrift store that supports the local Community Christian School with its profits. My first stop is always the book section in the back right of the store, where I always manage to find a new novel to read. They organize the books by section, helping you navigate the way through hundreds of titles. From the classic John Grisham novels to Christian living books, New 2 You has it all. After finding my mandatory book, I check out the women’s clothing section, which usually has some style that is right up my alley. A work-conscious blazer, a new pair of leggings or an Ariana Grande size sweat-shirt (the bigger, the better) are usually somewhere in the mix. New 2 You also has pots, pans, picture frames, mason jars…you get the picture. With more limited hours, make sure you get to this thrift store between Tuesday and Saturday, as it is closed on Sundays and Mondays.
Just a few of the many books on my bookshelf that were discovered at the New 2 You Thrift Store in Willmar!
Bargains and Blessings is a more recent addition to the Willmar Lakes Area, housed in the Skylark Shopping Center in Willmar. With a 4.7-star rating on Google, this thrift store is certain to wow shoppers with its variety of merchandise and incredibly friendly staff. Opened in 2016 by three local women, this thrift store donates its net proceeds to nonprofit Christian ministries around the area. In its first year alone, the store was able to give $8,000 to different local causes. In less than a month, the store will be dedicating itself to the spirit of Christmas by opening a second Christmas-themed location in the Skylark Center. With two different locations to shop at, Bargains and Blessings will be a must-shop destination this coming October.
For the more interior-design focused minds, Habitat for Humanity Restore is a great place to find additions for your home. With new and gently used furniture, appliances, home goods, building materials, and more, the Restore has everything you need for your next home improvement project. This summer alone, my family and I have flipped old wooden doors into family photo displays and wooden bi-fold doors into industrial shelving systems. With vintage light fixtures; rows of couches, love seats, and arm chairs; and an abundance of cabinets and doors, the Restore has more than enough selection to suit whatever home improvement project you have in the works. And if you’re hoping for even more used furniture, Public Market on 9th Street in Willmar has even more selection. Described as a “hodge lodge furniture market” by Caryn va Dijk, a local guide for Google, Public Market has good prices and good furniture. Regardless of whether you’re looking to fix up your living room or add a few items to your kitchen, Public Market is a great place for you.
The Willmar Lakes Area is a great place to go thrifting, giving us all the opportunity to shop till we drop in a more environmentally conscious way. So, the next time you decide to spruce up your home, revive the selections in your closet, or add to your bookshelf, stop at a thrift store in the area. Your wallet (and the environment) will thank you.