D I [WHY]

 
 
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Cramped, brimming with knick-knacks, and smelling of floral perfume, a visit to Second Time Around is more like rummaging around your grandparent's basement than a trip to the thrift store. Shelves of Lucite napkin rings, metallic cat art and Mr. T paperweights make furnishing your apartment, adding to your stamp collection or scoring novelty gifts a cinch. They also have an entire room of floor to ceiling bookshelves boasting everything from Marcel Proust to Chuck Palahniuk. Second Time Around also offers a wide selection of craft materials, scrap fabric and linens, clothing, accessories and shoes.

Location: 107 Ellett Rd.

Hours: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, Closed Sunday through Tuesday.

Pricing: Prices are generally low to start and are always negotiable, with the occasionally overpriced item that leaves you wondering if you "just don't get it," and a slew of marvelous finds so cheap you feel guilty. Typically, housewares, clothing, books and linens are all under $4, while furniture is more expensive.

Why You Should Give it a Chance: Second Time Around not only offers an unparalleled selection of kitschy stapes, but a host of enthusiastic volunteers who get almost as excited about your purchases as you do. They offer advice, assistance and the occasional cookie throughout your visit.

Charity: According to the Humane Society of Montgomery County's Web site, proceeds from Second Time Around "go directly to the support of the dogs and cats at our animal shelter," a "No Kill" shelter and nonprofit organization devoted to public education and the welfare of domesticated animals.

Promotions and Upcoming Events: There is always a "free table" that features a variety of complimentary books, miscellaneous parts and trinkets. Shoppers have the opportunity to enter a weekly drawing for a $5 gift certificate to the store with every purchase.


 
 
With seemingly endless racks of men's, women's and children's clothing and locations in Blacksburg and Christiansburg, it's no wonder Goodwill is a household name. Although the many racks may seem overwhelming to the novice thrifter, the conveniently fixed pricing takes out a lot of the guesswork.

Locations: 1413 N. Main St., Blacksburg, and 255 Peppers Ferry Rd. NE, Christiansburg

Hours: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday, noon to 8 p.m. Sunday

Pricing: Goodwill has fixed pricing throughout all of its stores so "folks can know what to expect," Heflin said. Jeans are $4, pants and blouses cost $3.50, shoes are $2.50, and purses, belts and ties are $1.00, with the exception of a few specially marked items in the counter display or on a rack reserved for brand-named items. This pricing system often works in the shopper's favor because no matter how expensive the item originally was, it is going to be a standard price. On the flipside, you may end up overpaying for less valuable items, such as T-shirts, which no matter how worn and outdated they are, will be priced the same as a fabulous designer blouse.

Why You Should Give it a Chance: "Because people immediately think, 'Oh, I'm taking this to Goodwill,'" Heflin said, Goodwill gets a higher quantity of donations than many thrift stores. It is also a good source of clothing, books, CDs and housewares.

Charity: Goodwill focuses on "helping people and families achieve a better life through work and independence," explained Heflin. "It's all about jobs." Through job training and job placement, Goodwill provides an opportunity for the disabled and disadvantaged to obtain valuable work experience. They assist "youth, adults and older workers in overcoming barriers to employment and achieving a level of independence to participate more fully in life," said Heflin.

Green Initiatives: Goodwill has partnered with Dell to create Dell Reconnect, Heflin said. Dell Reconnect breaks down and "e-cycles" computers, providing a convenient solution for the inevitable stash of clunky computer parts you don't know what to do with, while saving our landfills from the harmful toxins computers contain.

 
 
A 10-minute walk from campus, the YMCA Thrift Shop is a student's dream. From vintage cocktail dresses to restored computers, the Y has it all - furniture, books, housewares, appliances, clothing, shoes and jewelry. There are plenty of inexpensive finds to furnish your apartment and fill your closet. And unlike many thrift stores that disperse the items at a distribution center based on income, everything in good enough condition that is donated to the Y goes straight on the floor - designer clothes, antique furniture and fine jewelry included, explained assistant manager Brian Anderson.

Location: 1000 N. Main St.

Hours: 8:15 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Saturday, Closed Sunday

Pricing: The YMCA Thrift Shop has two basic price categories for clothing: Regular items are $2.50 and wardrobe items - typically nicer, higher quality items - are $5.00. In addition, there is the Thrift Chic Boutique, which offers designer and vintage clothes and accessories at slightly higher (generally $4 to $8) prices. Books, housewares and shoes all cost about $1 to $4 while appliances and furniture vary from very cheap $3 coffee tables to the occasional $600 armoire.

Why You Should Give It a Chance: Beyond having the widest selection of items for student living, the Y is deeply rooted in the community. The staff is friendly, the prices are fair, and everything is incomparably sincere.

Charity: Maintaining a longtime relationship with the Tech community and Blacksburg, the Y actively helps over 25 organizations, including "churches, women's shelters and food banks," Anderson said. "There is a massive variety." Furthermore, they use the donations to sponsor individual families in need. "If someone's house burns down, we will - for free - set them up with furniture, clothing ... basically items of necessity that you need on a daily basis," Anderson explained. "We try to make it so basically anyone can have a computer, clothe themselves, have a couch to sit on and a bed to sleep in."

Green Initiatives: Recently, the Y has put a lot of effort into finding a way to recycle everything. Anderson said, "We now recycle (grades) one to seven plastics, paper, old computers, broken DVD players, batteries, fluorescent bulbs," while donation drives and initiatives such as "YToss?" have saved tons of waste from ending up in landfills.

Promotions and Upcoming Events:

Once a month bag sales, featured on the first full weekend of the month, give the community an opportunity to fill a standard, brown paper grocery bag for only $4. Seasonally-themed book sales are offered once or twice a month. Each October, the Y hosts a massive book sale stocked with 2,000 to 3,000 books of all types. At the end of spring semester, they sponsor Y Toss? and collect unwanted furniture, appliances and assorted goods from students as they leave for the summer. The Y then cleans up and stores the items until the fall and host a sale for returning students.