Last week, I ventured out and visited a few of the local thrift and consignment stores in Bloomington-Normal. I wrote about them in an article called Family Saving Through Second Hand Shopping in Bloomington-Normal. This week I’m back with three more second hand stores for your bargain shopping pleasure.
Before I get started, here are a couple of tips to keep in mind when second hand shopping. First, bring cash. Many of the thriftiest thrift stores don’t accept charge cards. Second, make sure you thoroughly inspect all goods before making a purchase. A lot of second hand stores don’t do returns. Finally, and I can’t stress this enough, there are two things you should never, ever, under any circumstances buy second hand: tooth brushes and undergarments.
So without further delay, here are my picks of the week.
Number One: The Mission Mart at Home Sweet Home Ministries located at 301 E. Oakland Ave. in Bloomington.
What is it: Mission Mart is a thrift store associated with the Home Sweet Home Ministries, a homeless shelter in Bloomington. All proceeds from Mission Mart sales benefit the shelter. So when you shop at Mission Mart, you’re shopping for a good cause. Because it’s a thrift store, goods are usually obtained in the form of donations from members of the community.
Why I like it: I can describe Mission Mart’s best feature in three words: prices, prices, prices. While walking through the store, I saw gently used name brand kids clothes like Old Navy, The Children’s Place and Gap priced at a few dollars. I saw Disney VHS tapes for under a dollar. I saw games, puzzles and books in great condition for just a few dollars each. And I saw name brand ladies clothes and shoes at thrift store prices. Way in the back of the store I found several baby strollers (single and double) in excellent condition for $20.
The prices aren’t the only thing about the Mission Mart that I liked. There’s a lot more. The store is very large with row upon row upon row of sales racks. In addition, the place is clean, pleasant and well organized. It’s clear that someone is putting the time, effort and care it takes to run the store right. Finally, they have plenty of convenient and easily accessible parking – a big bonus in my book.
Number Two: Cute as A Button Consignment Store located at 1407 N. Veterans Pkwy in Bloomington.
What is it: A consignment store specializing in children’s clothing, toys and accessories. This locally owned consignment store has been in operation since 2005.
Why I like it: The store specializes in name brand kids clothes up to age 12. They have well stocked racks packed with in-season items. You can also find an assortment of toys, books, shoes, coats, hats and gloves. If you are looking for baby furniture, like changing tables, high chairs or strollers, Cute As A Button will normally have a large selection in the store.
One of my favorite parts about Cute As A Button is that they are very active on Facebook. They’ll post photos of new items as soon as they arrive in the store. Recently, I was fortunate to pick up a couple of Nintendo DS games for my son when Cute As A Button posted photos on Facebook. The prices were way below retail and just in time for Christmas.
Number Three: Central Illinois Small Animal Rescue Thrift Store located at 104 S. Linden (near Lunkers)
What is it: This is a thrift store owned and operated for the benefit of Central Illinois Small Animal Rescue, a no-kill animal shelter in McLean County.
Why I like it: This is a thrift store with a capital T and packed with cut rate deals. Expect to find books, knick knacks, house wares and clothing at prices that will even beat out the yard sales in town.
I wouldn’t describe CISAR as organized. So you’ll want to take your time and look around thoroughly. Make sure you inspect items for wear and quality. If you spend the time, however, you’re bound to find a few treasures.
So, who did I miss? If you have a favorite thirst, second hand or consignment shop in Bloomingnton-Normal, McLean County or nearby communities, let me know about them. I’ll post information in a later publication and list them here as a “Reader’s Choice.”
I’m not affiliated with any of these businesses and don’t personally know any of the owners or employees. I do have a friend who sat on the board of directors for Home Sweet Home. One time she gave me a tour of their mission and I had lunch there. She didn’t ask me to write this article and I didn’t tell her I was writing it. I’m not even sure she knows that I write about this kind of thing. I’ve probably never mentioned it to her. That’s my way of saying that my relationship with her didn’t influence my opinion. Anyway, no one gave me any goods, perks, money or other incentives to write about any of the businesses mentioned. These are just local businesses that are, in my opinion, doing a great job to bring second hand selling to the Bloomington-Normal community.