Fashion-savvy bargain-hunters hit up Lowcountry's thrift stores

abredeson@islandpacket.comJune 3, 2012 

  • Frequent your favorite shops a couple of times a week to see what's out there.

  • Carry a tape measure when thrift shopping. You never know when you might need to measure something.

  • Look closely at items, holding them up to the light, to check for holes.

  • If it's electrical, plug it in and test it out.

  • To avoid becoming a hoarder, don't overload. When a new item comes into your home, an old one should go out.

Dressed almost entirely in her thrift store finds, Lois Steffens browses the aisles of St. Francis Thrift Shop and The Bargain Box.

The Hilton Head Island resident visits the local thrift shops once or twice a week to see what she can find. An avid thrifter for the past 15 years, Steffens said she rarely shops in retail stores anymore.

With dozens of thrift and consignment shops in the area, Beaufort County residents have plenty of options to search for hidden treasures and save their families money.

"You can get great deals," she said. "You just have to be patient."

Steffens said some of her best finds include a Mark Cross handbag for about $3, a brass fireplace fender for $5 and a new wingback chair for $95. She said if she had bought the items new, the handbag would've been worth $400 to $500, the fender would've been about $1,000 and the chair about $400.

"One never knows what they will find," Steffens said. "One day, when you're not looking for something, that's kind of when you find it."

Steffens doesn't just buy any old items, though. As a former fabric/design director for clothing manufacturer Jonathan Logan in New York City, she has an eye for high-quality clothing. She keeps an eye out for Carlisle, Adrienne Vittadini and Ralph Lauren products.

While some people might look down on shopping in thrift stores, Steffens said she doesn't care. She's not ashamed to tell people where she gets her clothes.

Neither is Jane Sandler, who shops at God's Goods at least once a week. In fact, she said she and her friends like to compare what kind of deals they get at the store. She particularly likes God's Goods because it raises money for her church, The Church of the Cross.

Finding good deals isn't the only reason Sandler goes to the Bluffton thrift shop. She also goes for the social aspect. Her husband volunteers there on Saturdays, so she likes to visit him. And her friends from The Church of the Cross are often there, too. Sometimes she even invites a friend to go shopping with her.

Sandler said she likes to go to the store to buy cute gifts for friends. And if she knows someone is looking for something in particular, she will keep an eye out for them.

She said one of her best purchases was a couple of brown, suede swivel chairs for $95 each. She said she thinks they would've cost about $300 each if she had bought them new.

"I like the thrill of the hunt," she said. "It's just a lot of fun."

The Island Packet is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service