Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Last Call for Winter Gear Bargains in Gate City

Calling all local lurkers! Do you have children who are likely to need winter gear in a larger size next year? Is your winter gear showing wear? If you had another trench coat to wear, would you send the one you wore yesterday to the cleaners right now? Would it just be fun to have a new sweater or a fashionably silly knitted scarf? By the way, could you use another pair of jeans, a coffee mug, or a baby blanket? What about batteries for a hearing aid, toys for the baby, or a preposterously fancy bead bracelet?

If so, this is the week to visit the Mountain Treasures store, above the new police headquarters and the Citgo station on the west end of Jackson Street. That would be #372 West Jackson Street, according to this web page:

Scroll down until you see a map, and you can find the store on a map on this page:

If you scroll down far enough you'll find a listing here, too...

...but the store doesn't actually have a telephone. Employees give their cell phone numbers to sincere, serious shoppers.

About a year ago this web site discussed this store here:

This is the week when you can still pick and choose, when you're likely to find half a dozen options in whatever category you're looking for, and buy one and get one free. Clothing (men's, women's, children's, some extra-large sizes), linens, shoes, books, household items, lots of dishes and pots and pans, baby things, and the preposterously junky jewelry is on display at the checkout desk.

Next week, anything that's left from this week goes into the bag sale. Big bags...but the designer-label clothes that look like they've never been worn will have disappeared.

I was in the store yesterday and saw only one of the books I took in last spring still on the shelves. That means the shelves are packed with a whole new assortment of books. Not the usual assortment of moldy three-year-old bestsellers and waterlogged romance paperbacks, although there's a bin of romance paperbacks too. There are some substantial books that would interest adults, some old schoolbooks, and a wide assortment of books for children and teenagers. You might find a bargain on a book with collection value--check titles on Amazon.

Then there's the rack of coffee mugs...matched and unmatched, plain and fancy, sentimental and goofy. And caps, bags, lamps, dish racks...

But mostly what needs to be cleared out of the way so the store can display warm-weather clothes are the winter clothes.

Regular readers may remember my Yahoo articles about thrift store prowling in the big city--making a day of it in Bethesda or Arlington, or a real shop-till-you-drop sport of it from Route 450 on the D.C. border to Route 1 through Laurel. Bargains, bargains, bargains, and all in a good cause. How can a little store in a little town compare...? Well, the answer is, not as poorly as you'd think. Gate City is not Bethesda, but some of us do donate decent stuff to our local charity stores, of which Mountain Treasures is one. Since I found out where the store is (it doesn't face Jackson Street, you have to walk uphill to the back door) I've been back every three to six weeks, and I have found things in there that I would have bought if I'd found them in Bethesda--same prices, same quality.

Will you find things in there that you'd pick if they were in a huge store? Very likely--if you get in while the buy one, get one free sale is on.

Will you find things to inspire your creativity? Absolutely. If you sew or quilt, secondhand clothes just beg to be made into something new and unique.

Will anybody be disappointed? Adayahi used to warn me about having a display that was "just for the ladies." His theory is that women are more likely to buy things in stores that provide something for the men to look at too. I see quite a few men's clothes in Mountain Treasures, and some books, but I don't see the display of hardware and electronics he used to insist that I maintain. However, I did see, yesterday, six or eight unopened cards of batteries for hearing aids. I've not often seen that in thrift stores and want to encourage everyone to go out and look for them while they last.

Will anybody get more than they had any reasonable right to expect? Anything can happen when you confide your needs to an older woman in a small town. When people in stores talk about what they want to buy and sell, instead of merely gossipping, all sorts of profitable connections can be made. One day when I took in some cookbooks someone was desperately in need of a piece of furniture I'd been trying to sell for years.

Can you afford what you want? Probably. Most garments cost one or two dollars. Most books are fifty cents or less. Housewares, make an offer. If you are really in dire straits, this is a charity store, they care about poor people, they won't let anybody go without adequate warm clothes. If they think you look cold you may have to discourage them from thrusting warm clothes upon you.

Will you be embarrassed about shopping there? Hah. As I observed about another charity store, another year...just avoid fighting over the same bargain with the boss. Everybody in Gate City loves a bargain and I've seen the old families and the civic organizations well represented in this store.

Just hurry out before what you want is snapped up. Yesterday the women's winter boots went fast. It may be already too late to buy a pair of dress boots this winter. Flannel pajamas? Warm neck-snuggling scarves? One, two, three, go!