The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

    Thrifty chic

    Renee Rosenow

    For many college students, school is all about saving money. One person might stop driving to save on gas while another digs pizza out of the dumpster behind Little Caesar’s to cut financial corners. When it comes to store bought goods, Eau Claire has an outlet: thrift stores. When hunting for pennies in the sofa to pay for lunch seems immanent, perhaps it’s time to quit the mall and begin anew somewhere less expensive.

    There are many thrift stores in the area. Goodwill, Savers and the Salvation Army are just a few national chains that are here in Eau Claire. Places like Hope Gospel Mission, Penny’s Heaven and Twice Upon A Time are more local business that offer the same services but are less known.Whatever the preference, consumers have options. For some it’s not about the money.

    “I try not to look at savings but more at where my money’s going,” junior Dane Haverly said.

    One of his concerns was with whether the money was going to people here in the United States or if it was going somewhere overseas, perhaps China, he said.

    Story continues below advertisement

    Another option Haverly mentioned is garage sales. In late September, Eau Claire’s third ward hosts neighborhood thrift sales available to anyone in the community. Even after they are over, many houses leave their unsold items on the sidewalk for garbage crews or poor college students.

    Sophomore Lauren Ott enjoys shopping at an array of thrift stores in order to get the best deals.

    “I would say Savers is number one,” she said. “Goodwill and Hope Gospel are good, too.”

    For people concerned with community matters and environmental issues, Goodwill, 3605 Gateway Dr., may be a new perfect place to shop.

    Goodwill’s Chief operating officer Karen Laws had a few surprising facts about the business.

    “Most of our proceeds go to support our programs,” Laws said. “We currently have 14 different programs in the Eau Claire area.”

    These programs fund educational, career and other community services.

    Laws also said that the people at Goodwill are doing their best to “go green.”

    “We keep 92 percent of what’s donated to us out of the landfills,” she said. “If you donate in a paper bag, we recycle the paper bag. If you donate in a box, we recycle the cardboard.”

    For Haverly, these issues are important.

    “I recycle just about everything I can,” Haverly said.

    The Hope Gospel Mission Bargain Center, 2511 W Moholt Dr., is another popular location to shop.

    Ron Wedlund, the Retail Supervisor of the Bargain Center said that both recycling and community issues are the store’s highest priorities.

    “We are the fundraiser for the mission,” he said.

    The mission includes the Ruth House, a local shelter; the Education Center and programs to help the homeless back onto their feet.

    “A lot of times (the homeless) have had an accident and their medical bills have gotten out of control, divorce or addiction,” Wedlund said. “We’re trying to get them back into the workforce so hopefully they can be productive in society.”

    Like Goodwill, The Bargain Center has lately been focusing on the environment.

    “Recycling is a big concern,” Wedlund said. “We don’t ship out the clothing, it all stays local.”

    He also said they don’t turn any donated items down.

    Wedlund said that though they have over 15,000 clothing items on the floor at all times, college students are most attracted to the furniture and home goods.

    “We pick up the old furniture on Water St.,” he said.

    They sell discarded furniture from the universities in Eau Claire and Stout.

    For others, price is an issue but fashion rules all.

    My Best Friend’s Closet, 3001 London Rd., is a locally owned thrift store for those with more picky clothing tastes.

    “Our store is different than Goodwill and Savers,” said Michelle Pederson, an owner of the business. “We sell basically brand name clothing. Our store doesn’t look like a thrift store.”

    Pederson also thought it was important that people in the area shop locally to support Eau Claire’s economy.

    “Our demographic is teens to young adults,” Pederson said. “Primarily high school and college students.”

    Pederson boasted the store’s large supply of jeans. Some brands include Abercrombie and Fitch, Lucky, Silver, BKE and others.

    “A pair of BKEs at The Buckle is about $75. Here they’re $24,” she said.

    Lucky jeans range from $24 to $45 depending on the style and Abercrombie and Fitch jeans are $24.

    The store is also a great way to make a little cash when discarding old clothes.

    “We buy (clothes) from the public,” Pederson said.

    Available times to do this are on Mondays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The store pays cash or double in store credit.

    If college students are still rifling through those dirty pizza boxes because they blew the bank on their last department store excursion, perhaps it’s time to look a little harder at Eau Claire’s fine thrifting opportunities.

    Leave a Comment
    More to Discover

    Comments (0)

    The Spectator intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. The Spectator does not allow anonymous comments and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
    All The Spectator Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Activate Search
    Thrifty chic