Thrift stores offer cheap gifts

Zirconia Alleyne

The holiday season can get expensive, especially on a strapped college budget.

Instead of frequenting big box stores this year, I decided to look at local consignment and thrift shops to find interesting Christmas gifts.

During my hunt, I came across a variety of items I never would’ve imagined finding.

My first stop was at Goodwill. I found everything from books and movies to kitchen accessories and vintage home decor. Last year, I bought the cutest black blazer with a caged open-back design. I received so many compliments and felt proud that I only paid $5 for it.

This time I was on a mission to find something similar. Not only did I find a structured papaya-colored blazer with abstract buttons, but I also found an understated floral-print cardigan for $8.

Next, I visited Elite Repeats, a swanky consignment store that’s been around since 1984. Price points varied for brands such as Gucci, Coach and Louis Vuitton.

Most racks were labeled by designer names or organized by style and size. I discovered the coziest sweater vest for $12.

The assortment at my final destination was impressive as well. New to You consignment shop offered not only clothes, but most of its merchandise was home furnishings.

Owners Troy and Leslie Bowles opened the shop in August along U.S. Highway 31-W Bypass, which has been nicknamed “Consignment Row.”

Leslie said they’re lower priced than some of their competitors.

“We’re not low-end at all, but we’re not carrying $100 purses,” she said.

Many college students visit their store for furniture — especially dressers.

“When school started, they flooded the store looking for cheap furniture,” she said.

Troy said guys tend to make their way to the back of the store in his “beer closet.” Alcohol merchandise such as beer taps and pub glasses lined the walls.

The couple hopes to be voted Best Consignment shop in Bowling Green next year. Troy wants to open a second store in town.

Leslie said it’s the personal environment that keeps their customers and consigners coming back. They currently have 200 consigners who drop off items to sell.

“Not only do we have students coming in here to buy, but they’re dropping off stuff to sell,” she said.