Here We Go A-Thrifting
Author: Kitty Bartell
Frugal, prudent, careful, conserving… some say modern America’s penchant for thrift shopping may be traced to the Puritan ideology of our founding fathers, who encouraged the practice wanting to slow the new nation’s dependency on trade with Europe. John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson were strong proponents of the repurpose and recycle movement; however, it wasn’t until the decade of the Great Depression that the proceeds from the sale of donated items began to be funneled through charitable organizations to provide assistance to specific groups and individuals.
The popularity and even necessity for thrifting has ebbed and flowed with economic ups and downs over the past 65-plus years; however, the Lowcountry’s heart for reuse retail has displayed a relative immunity to these fluctuations. The number of local shops and those benefitting from their endeavors has been on a steady climb ever since three members of the First Presbyterian Church opened Hilton Head Island’s Bargain Box in 1965. This island fixture has been a local non-profit leader and inspiration, with revenue from the thrift being allocated to support local social agencies and charities. The shop has also created a valuable place for itself in the community as a resource for much needed reasonably priced goods.
Shopping local Lowcountry thrifts is a bit like the perfect storm of potential donors and eager shoppers. As new residents move to the area, they find they have items that don’t fit their new homes or new lifestyles, and plenty of charitable organizations are ready to accept those donations, facilitate their sale, and direct the profits to their beneficiaries. God’s Goods, a thrift store ministry of Bluffton’s Church of the Cross, is finding business is booming and benefiting their mission work locally, nationally, and internationally, said Kim Perri, ministry leader and one of the thrift’s founders. Following a mission trip to Belize with her husband, three children, and 12 other members of the church, combined with a motivating Bible study, Perri was led to suggest raising money for missions by holding a huge garage sale, which is when the church’s rector made the inspired suggestion that she start looking for a location to open a thrift store. “That was in early 2010, and we opened the store on July 31 of that year,” she said.
“Two years after we opened, we were bursting at the seams. Our shop neighbor made a creative suggestion, facilitating us being able to knock a wall out and expand. It was an answer to prayer when were able to lease the additional space,” Perri said. “God has really been pouring out His blessings. I believe we are the only church store that is 100 percent staffed by volunteers, and we have a leadership team that manages the store as well. People are looking to make sure the things they donate result in money going where they want it to go. We’re a great example of that, because we’re not paying staff.”
God’s Goods also works in partnership with other non-profits like Family Promise, Bluffton Self Help, My Father’s House, and the St. Gregory the Great’s St. Vincent de Paul Society where they contribute pass-through donations to those in need. These items are identified by the organization, who then connects available donations with the specific needs of a family or individuals.
The motivation behind OSPREY Village Thrift (formerly Heart to Home Thrift) in Ridgeland is a personal one for Susan Doubles, one of the founders and driving force behind the shop. “I am a parent of a beautiful 44-year-old mentally challenged daughter, Ericha” Doubles said. The profits from the thrift are funding the development of the Osprey Village community, designed as an intergenerational pocket community where mentally challenged adults will live independently alongside other residents.
“I want to see Ericha living with a sense of stability and security—living a life that most have the opportunity to live: to work, to have a home, go on vacation, have a normal life,” Doubles said. Opened in 2011, the thrift has generated income sufficient to purchase land and break ground this summer on phase one of the community that will benefit this group of individuals. “I want to be there when Ericha is in her Osprey Village home, when her four siblings come home for dinner, when we go to Ericha’s house for dinner.”
The local Lowcountry’s list of thrift shops is a relatively long one for an area of its size. Our frugal founding fathers would likely give area non-profits a pat on the back for their imaginatively-driven, repurposing, philanthropic endeavors. Map your route and set sail on a thrifting journey, for the treasures abound.
Thrift Shop Listing
546 Willi a.m. Hilton Parkway
Hilton Head Island
HOURS: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 1 p.m.-4 p.m.; Saturday 9:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
10876-B Jacob Smart Boulevard
HOURS: Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
77 Pritchard Street
HOURS: Wednesdays and Saturdays 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Cancer Thrift of the Lowcountry
1 Sherington Drive, Suite D, Bluffton
HOURS: Mon through Sat 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun 12 p.m.-5 p.m.
53 Persimmons Street, #103, Bluffton
HOURS: Tuesdays 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Wednesday through Friday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
95 Mathews Drive, Suite C1
Hilton Head Island, SC 29926
509 Island West Park, Bluffton
HOURS: 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon through Sat; Sun 12 p.m.-7 p.m.
Habitat for Humanity ReStore
1223 May River Road
HOURS: Mon through Fri 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Hospice Community Thrift
3 Mathews Court, Suite A, Hilton Head Island
HOURS: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Thursday 12 p.m.-4 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
The Litter Box Thrift Store
46 Old Wild Horse Road, Hilton Head Island
HOURS: Monday through Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Off Island Thrift and Cancer Awareness
4375 Bluffton Parkway, Bluffton
(843) 815-SAVE (7283)
4377 Bluffton Parkway, Bluffton
18 Plantation Park Drive,, Bluffton
Crazy Beach Boutique
4373 Bluffton Parkway, Bluffton
HOURS for the 4 shops: Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
OSPREY Village Thrift
2797 N Okatie Highway, Ridgeland
HOURS: Monday through Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Palmetto Animal League (P.A.L.) Thrift
1 Sherington Drive, Suite B, Bluffton
HOURS: Monday through Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Salvation Army Family Store
1316 A Fording Island Road, Bluffton
HOURS: Monday through Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
St. Francis Thrift Shop
6 Southwood Park Drive, Suite A, Hilton Head Island
HOURS: Tues through Fri 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sat 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
St. Luke’s Church Mouse Thrift Shop
78 Arrow Road, Suite G, Hilton Head Island
HOURS: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; Thursday 1 p.m.-6 p.m.