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Monday, November 12, 2012

Denver's Secret (Vintage) Stash

    When we first moved to Denver, I was intimidated. I didn't know the city very well and, literally, everything was different from what I knew it to be in Kentucky. With the help of a GPS, I started making my way around town. Inevitably, I found my way to thrift stores. I still haven’t discovered my dream* thrift store in Denver but there is still plenty of thrift to be had.
     *By “dream” thrift store, I mean a store that has not been severely picked over, where I can find affordable items that are complete, working or undamaged.
     The first thing I noticed about thrift stores (stores such as Goodwill and ARC (Association for Retarded Citizens)) in Denver was that the cost of items is much higher than what I knew it to be in Kentucky. On the other hand, unlike the stores I went to in Kentucky, Denver stores offer discounts and promotions. 
     If you "like" Goodwill Industries of Denver on Facebook, you are eligible to receive their Make My Monday coupon. It’s only on their site for one Monday a month (the next one will be posted Monday, November 26th). You print off the coupon to receive 25% off an item that (I think) costs $20.00 or more.  Next, the local Goodwills have a 50% off most items sale at least once a month. Finally, this fall, Goodwill rolled out a program called Club Blue. It is a free rewards program. You receive 10% off the first time you use your Club Blue Card, 20% off every time you spend $25.00 or more in one transaction (after senior or military discounts are applied), a $10.00 reward once you have accumulated 250 points (i.e. once you have spent $250 at Goodwill), and a $5.00 birthday reward.  Kinda takes the sting out of higher prices, right?
     ARC has an e-club you can join to receive coupons, every day one of their various colors of tags is 50% off,  every Tuesday seniors receive 50% off nearly every tag and just about every Saturday is 50% off most items.
     So, what’s missing?  Vintage clothing.  I’m not saying I was rolling in vintage clothing in Kentucky but it wasn’t uncommon to find a piece here or there. And, then…I discovered why. I don’t have it on any authority, but it seems to me that Denver thrift stores put vintage clothing aside for Halloween. Imagine my surprise when I walked into my favorite ARC store a few weeks back and discovered rows of vintage clothes. I’m not saying that what I discovered was my favorite style or condition but, for better or worse, there was the vintage clothing I’d been missing.
     For Halloween, ARC promoted a “Boo It Yourself” costume contest. Having only lived in Denver for eight months, I don’t know if this is an annual contest.  Given the array of clothing and materials in ARC designated for Halloween, I figured you created a costume from what you purchased and submitted it to ARC for judging. Then, I learned that you create a costume through a matrix on their website, submit it to ARC and ARC posts the submissions to their Facebook page.  The costume idea that receives the most “likes” wins a $100.00 shopping spree to ARC. 
     As I was planning our wedding and moving towards my career job, it was necessary that I be conservative in my spending but I still managed to enjoy a few good deals from this promotion. For example, this lovely teal dress with its own crinoline sewn in that I'll enjoy wearing come the spring: 

Close-up of the fabric of the dress.
Yours 'till bobby pins on permanent waves get seasick,
Meteor Vintage

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