So you have a whole box of near-new clothes that don’t fit anymore because you lost so much weight? Or maybe you’re in the market for a recliner that suddenly didn’t fit the donors’ décor anymore, but is a shockingly perfect match with the new paint you picked for your living room.
That, my friends, is the magic of the thrift store. It’s not about one man’s trash. It’s about passing on the love for something, whether you’re giving or receiving. I know that sounds a bit hippie, but it’s what my Mom always taught me and it’s why I have always loved thrift stores.
There is gold in them there hills, if you’re just willing to go on a bit of a scavenger hunt. And the best part is: The money you’re giving to these stores is going to fund a cause or a nonprofit charity.
So here’s a primer, in no particular order, of our favorite thrifts to give you a little leg up in the hunt for new treasures.
• Osprey Village Thrift, 2600 Main Street, Unit 101, Hilton Head Island, 843-368-0001; 2797 North Okatie Highway, Okatie, 843-645-4505, ospreyvillage.org: This organization was founded in 2008 by advocates looking for a way to provide greater support and resources to empower adults with developmental disabilities. The goal is to develop a residential neighborhood with a purpose to serve this often neglected community. You’ll find furniture, household goods, electronics, clothing and more at the original Okatie location (which recently got a remodel makeover) and the newer island facility, a 10,000-square-foot retail space. Osprey Village will also pick up furniture donations.
• God’s Goods, 15A Center Drive, Bluffton, 843-757-2024, godsgoods.org: This Christ-centered Christian ministry thrift opened in 2010 in Sheridan Park and has since moved to its current larger facility. The thrift has more than 340 volunteers helping with the toys, linens and full assortment of furniture and housewares. Pick-up service is free and they even provide delivery service at a modest cost. This store is divided by departments, with a women’s boutique, sporting goods, and Christian and children’s book sections among the store highlights.
• Calhoun Station, 77 Pritchard St., Bluffton, 843-757-5191: This is Bluffton’s first and oldest thrift shop, but they are facing a volunteer shortage as they try to survive beyond the pandemic. The store opened 31 years ago and has given more than $1.2 million to local nonprofits. But their volunteer crew has shrunk from 30 in their heyday to high single digits currently, which has caused the thrift to cut its open days down to Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. It’s still a primo spot to find unusual must-have items.
• Bargain Box, 546 William Hilton Parkway, Hilton Head Island, 843-342-2469, thebargainboxofhiltonhead.org: This is the island’s original thrift store, opened in 1965 by three women from First Presbyterian Church to provide shopping options for working residents of the island. The nonprofit has given back more than $15.3 million in cash grants to other Beaufort County charities.
The Box has also developed a reputation for being the Cadillac of thrifts, as you can often find designer clothing that has been worn once or twice. The variety of merchandise here is mind-blowing – through the years, the store has sold an airplane, an RV, a Rolls Royce, a diamond bracelet, a baby grand piano and an endless array of mink coats. The store is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 12 to 4 p.m. and will pick up large items. Pay close attention to what the store will not accept as donations, listed clearly on the website.
• Litter Box, 46 Old Wild Horse Road Nos. 5-6, Hilton Head Island, 843-842-6369, hhhumane.org: This thrift’s motto is “goods for people, great for animals.” The store is run by the Hilton Head Humane Association and is one of our favorite places to get lost for a few hours, just taking in the incredible inventory in the store. Every thrift has its share of amazing finds and deals, but the Litter Box just seems to have a knack for attraction high-end furniture and unique gifts. More recent steals include an 11-piece Gloster furniture set and an old-school movie projector. Open Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• PAL Thrift, 1 Sherington Drive B, Bluffton, 843-837-6369, palmettoanimalleague.org/thrift: How can you not like a thrift who’s last four digits of the phone number spell “MEOW”? This thrift supports the no-kill animal rescue operations of the Palmetto Animal League. This store has so much to offer that they’ve expanded to selling items on an eBay store as well. And with every donation and purchase, you are helping life-saving programs, giving abandoned and neglected animals a chance to find their forever home. Open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with donations accepted Monday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
• St. Luke’s Church Mouse Thrift, 78 Arrow Road, Hilton Head Island, 843-785-2322, churchmousethrift.com: This thrift’s net funds generated are distributed to nonprofit Christian missions and to local Christian outreach. This is a boutique thrift store that has a steady inventory of designer labels like Ralph Lauren, Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman-Marcus. The store was created in 2004 and has evolved its expanded showroom into a showcase for brand-name goods and fine furniture. It’s not often you see a thrift advertise the array of high-end brands from Tory Burch to Le Creuset to Drexel Heritage, but this store constantly has the goods to back up the promotion. Church Mouse also offers a wide array of medical supplies on a sign-out, return-it-later basis.
• Habitat ReStore, 18 Plantation Park Drive, Bluffton, 843-757-9995, habitathhi.org/restore: This thrift supports Habitat for Humanity’s efforts to build homes for deserving families that has built more than 100 homes in the community just since 2000. The store opened in 2002 and offers standard thrift fare, but also something a bit different but in line with their mission: you can often find useful building materials here – from doors and windows to kitchen cabinets – quite a commodity these days. The store is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• St. Francis Thrift, 6 Southwood Drive #A, Hilton Head Island, 843-689-6563, stfrancisthriftshophhi.org: This thrift is a ministry of the Diocese of Charleston under the direction of St. Francis By the Sea Catholic Church. The store has more than 260 volunteers that help with store operation and community outreach. The thrift has developed a specialty for accepting boats and yachts, RVs and motorhomes. Open Tuesday through Friday from 12 to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with donations accepted Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
• Goodwill, 509 Island Park West, Bluffton, 843-815-6550; 1016 William Hilton Parkway, Hilton Head Island, 843-895-2035; 95 Mathews Drive, Port Royal Plaza, Hilton Head Island, 843-790-8589, palmettogoodwill.org: We saved the well-oiled machine of thrifts for the last of our 10 Hot Spots. Palmetto Goodwill guarantees that more than 90 cents of every Goodwill dollar helps provide support, education and job training for the surrounding community. The Lowcountry has been a bit of an idea incubator for the organization, as a GW Boutique has opened at both island locations featuring curated designer clothing, high-end home décor and trendy shoes and accessories galore and a drive-thru donation center. Check the website for store hours.
As an added bonus, we must add an 11th choice, the community’s newest addition to delight thrifters.
• Tulips Thrift Store, 57 Sheridan Park Circle, Bluffton, 843-290-2011: This newest thrift store entry is launching their official grand opening on May 29 after a couple months of soft opening training. The proceeds benefit a battered women home project, Brillo De Mujer Home, that will be a place for women escaping abusive partners. The staff is extremely friendly and bi-lingual (English and Spanish). The store has showcased an impressive array of furniture, jewelry, luggage and homewares since opening earlier this spring. Open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Tim Wood is a veteran journalist based in Bluffton. Contact him at email@example.com.