I consider myself very lucky to have come of age in the ‘90s. The dollar was strong. Internationally, we were well-respected. Theatre was experiencing an incredible rebirth, and the explosion of the grunge scene out of Seattle was endlessly interesting. With it, the celebration of the vintage re-sale shop as a clothing destination (as opposed to the mall) was one of the most down-to-earth aspects of the grunge world that I absorbed. Why pay $100 for a shirt when I could get a perfectly good one for $3?
As one transitions into the more adult and professional aspects of life, plaid flannel shirts only go so far. When I held a job that required more “professional” dress than my current bookstore business-owner position, where jeans and a T-shirt are de-rigueur, I was surprised to discover the availability of nice professional clothing—sometimes unworn, even—in re-sale shops. Twenty bucks spent on a suit that all together would have been over $100 is a steal!
Jock and I still seek out a surprising amount of our clothing from re-sale shops. Dedicated readers of this column will remember an earlier comment about Jock’s habit of setting his clothes on fire (he is a mad scientist, after all). Consequently most of his wardrobe comes in under the $5 mark. He might be the Salvation Army’s biggest agnostic supporter.
Here is a brief survey of some of our frequent stops around town:
Vintage Values, the resale shops that raise money for the Domestic Violence Shelter and Services Inc., has three locations: 609 Castle Street; 413 South College Road; and 5226 South College Road. They have clothes and household items, along with the odd piece of nice furniture. I spent an hour one day trying to decide how upset Jock would be if I bought a piano from them. Admittedly we have no room for it and neither of us have time to play piano, nor do either of us particularly want to move a piano—but it was $100!
I also shop at The Bargain Box of Wilmington, located on 4213 Princess Place Drive. Operated to fund the outreach programs of the Church of the Servant, and crammed with surprising deals, I found a bag full of brand new Armani clothes—tags and everything still attached—during one trip. The whole bag cost less than $20! In a word: wow!
Not to be forgotten is The Fairy Circle, now serving Wilmington with two locations: 1045 South College Road and in Monkey Junction at 5120 South College Road #118. Besides great clothing, they also consign items from local crafters. They are kind of like the local version of Etsy without the shipping. Earrings, Vera Bradley bags, great dresses to fab accessories all can be found here.
Downtown’s A Second Time Around, located at 143 North Front Street, carries really great professional attire for women. The $45 sidewalk sale is tough to beat—but inside there is a vast world of cleaned, steamed, nice clothing at great prices. When I worked in an office, one of the ladies swore by shopping here. At least twice a week she would come back from her lunch break, toting a bag with another deal.
Besides keeping things out of the landfill and cutting down on fossil fuel use by buying things that are already here instead of shipped across the world, by buying from a resale shop, it’s nice to know money stays in the community, too. In the case of the charity shops, shoppers also get to invest in the programs our area depends on. It’s a pretty great deal all-around.
After a little research, I found a number of other shops to add to my list. Who knew Wilmington housed so many bargains?
Encore Consignment Boutique, 5814 Oleander Drive; Plato’s Closet, 4720 New Centre Dr., #A; Big Gals Boutique (plus sizes), 829 B S. Kerr Avenue; The Ivy Cottage, 3020 Market Street (three buildings); Just Like New Shoppe, 1014 S. Kerr Avenue; A Perfect Find Home Consignments, 3405-1 Market Street; Once Upon a Child (clothes, strollers, the works for kids stuff!), 4719-J New Centre Drive; Clothes Mentor, 4720-C New Centre Drive; Uptown Guys, University Square; Uptown Gals, University Square; Flea Body’s Resale Shop, 4514 Park Avenue; The Other Store, 5400 Castle Hayne Road; Thrill of the Hunt, 4713 Oleander Drive; Big Babes Plus Size Consignments, 5629 Oleander Drive; Pamela’s Consignment and Fun, 5629 Oleander Drive, Ste 104; Generations Consignment, 419 S. College Road; Simply Kids Stuff, 4904 Carolina Beach Rd, #C; On Second Thought, 6772 Market Street; Dottie’s Upscale Resale; 3536 Carolina Beach Road, Ste 4; Memories of A Child, 6932 Market Street, Ste K; Fabulous Finds, 612 Castle Street; New 2U, 4605 Franklin Avenue, Ste 1; Perfect Find, 3405 Market Street; Flashbax, 30 N. Front Street; Home Again Wilmington, 6766 Wrightsville Avenue Ste P; The Seaside Cottage, 3605 Carolina Beach Road, #2; Sunshine Daydream, 8 S. Pavillion Avenue, Carolina Beach; Primrose Cottage, 1018 N Lake Park Boulevard, Ste 5, Carolina Beach; Village Exchange, 4607 B Wrightsville Avenue; The Shop Of Seagate, 5809 Oleander Drive, #2; Re-Eco, 5323 Oleander Drive; Bella’s Consignment Boutique, 1107 New Point Boulevard, Leland; The Purple Trunk, 6326 Market Street and 6304 Castle Hayne Road.