Collectors and bargain-hunters alike know all the best spots to uncover the most unique and special items in the city. If you’re on the hunt for cool, inexpensive knick knacks or clothing, hit up these extraordinary thrift stores.
Flashbacks Recycled Fashions
Located on University Ave., this little hole in the wall is one of Gainesville’s hidden treasures. As you walk past the big shop windows with quirkily-dressed mannequins, you can feel the vintage vibes radiating from inside. The big “Flashbacks” sign towers over you, and strange, little knick knacks greet you before you even enter. Once you step inside, it’s like you’re transported to another retro realm. Punk music plays softly as the trendy workers rearrange the endless inventory.
Flashbacks has two rooms jam-packed with items. You can find new and vintage clothing in every size; from old graphic t-shirts to weathered leather jackets, and retro aprons. There’s even a selection of handbags, jewelry, lingerie, and swimwear. Beyond the awesome clothing, there is a world of treasures in every corner at Flashbacks. The trinkets and tchotchkes are never-ending and you’ll be sure to find something cool every time you go. Keep your eye out and you may even spot a rare antique. Flashbacks has very fair prices and is always willing to buy back items at a reasonable rate.
For the trend-setters and fashionistas, Urban Thread is the spot to score designer items for lower prices. Some would call Urban Thread a hidden gem -- it’s easy to miss, but it’s worth checking out. The atmosphere is cozy and chic, making it easy to get lost in the racks of clothing. There is a lot of variety, but luckily Urban Thread does a wonderful job of organizing it all. There is a wide range of sizes, and sometimes there will be more than one of a certain item. Brands like Urban Outfitters, Free People, American Eagle, Lucky Brand, and Pacific Sunwear can be expected. From crop tops to bodysuits, from swimwear to lingerie, Urban Thread has it all.
The place features mostly women’s clothing, but there are also some men’s and unisex options. You can also find shoes in all sizes, as well as jewelry and homeware. Everything is hand-picked and stylish, so scoring a good find isn’t rare. Keep in mind that Urban Thread does have higher prices than most thrift stores, and some items can be considered overpriced, but there really are some amazing, designer bargains. Urban Thread also has two locations, one on 21st Ave and one on University Ave. The store has frequent deals and will even give you 10% off if you follow them on Instagram.
The Repurpose Project
This shop is a hub for art inspiration and DIY project motivation. Here, you can find all kinds of “junk” that you can repurpose; “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” is the motto to live by while you’re at The Repurpose Project. There are inexpensive art supplies, used and/or abandoned appliances, doors, tile, furniture, 2x4 and 9x12's, ceramic tiles, older and newer windows, shutters, kitchen sinks, and lots of wood.
The aisles are very organized and each category of inventory is clearly expressed: rustic to antique decor, beads, vinyl, frames (including framed art), office supplies, fabric, electrical equipment, blinds, jars, paper -- you name it, they’ve got it. Although this thrift store doesn’t offer any cool, vintage clothing, you can find pretty much anything else at awesome prices. The volunteers who work there are very friendly and always willing to negotiate. Even if you’re not looking for anything to buy, The Repurpose Project is an amazing place to hang out, wander around, and gather ideas for your next creative adventure. (It’s also conveniently located next to Satchel’s, where you can get some of the best pizza ever).
CHS Upscale Thrift Shop
Located in Downtown, CHS Upscale Thrift Shop is clean, well-organized, and full of variety. No matter when you visit, it always feels like a new store -- the rotation of inventory is like no other. The shop is also a non-profit organization for a good cause, raising money for the Children’s Home Society and giving back to the community. You can wander the orderly aisles in search for anything, including books, furniture, clothing, homeware, accessories and more. The items range from old to new, but all of them are one-of-a-kind.
This place has a wide selection of women’s clothing for the low. Designer tops can be found for lower than $5 and the $1 bins frequently have decent pieces; some of the items still even have the tags on them. In addition, the store features a play area for kids, letting parents browse at their leisure. The staff is helpful, friendly, and all proceeds go to a great cause. They also accept donations of any kind, and will even pick up the items for free.
Outreach Thrift Store
Outreach Thrift Store has loads of clothes and a wide range of sizes. It’s especially great for finding kids’ clothing at awesome prices -- the perfect place to do some back-to-school shopping. Almost all of the items are well-kept and in gently used condition. There is also a ton of shoes, a small selection of homeware, and a relatively extensive purses and handbags collection. The majority of clothing is for women, but there is a decent section for men as well. The styles range from casual to and active to office appropriate, offering fashionable tops, skirts, pants, leggings, dresses, and more. It’s uncommon to find a garment costing over $5; most of the items can be snagged for around $1.95-$3.95. Another cool asset of this door is its abundance of dollar and quarter racks, offering amazing deals in every direction. Make sure to take your time. Flipping through everything takes a while, but there is so much to discover.