If you want to get my heart racing, let me into a not-even-open-yet thrift store and let me wander and check out all the yet-to-be-purchased goodies. Make that store bright and pretty, super organized, and pack it with great stuff and it will make my life. While I adore the luxury lifestyle– no hotel is too fancy, no destination too posh– my heart still skips a beat when I find an incredible deal at a thrift store. I was invited to partner with Savers Thrift Store (a national chain with over 330 locations in US and Canada) to check out their brand-new (and first ever Pennsylvania) location in Willow Grove. It was an opportunity to see what really happens behind the closed doors of the backroom sorting area, find out exactly where and how they get their items, plus an exclusive peek at the merchandise that will be there for the Grand Opening. Are you ready? Wait ’til you see what I discovered!
The first thing I noticed is that they walk the (recycling) walk. Check out how they created the signs for each department: upcycled doors!
Have you ever wondered where thrift stores get their items? Well, Savers has a wonderful way to support the community and keep massive amounts of stuff out of landfills at the same time. They partner with Big Brothers Big Sisters Clothes for Kids’ Sake (BBBS) and pay them by the pound for household and clothing items they collect. So when you call the truck for a non-profit operation like Big Brothers Big Sisters they take the donated items to Savers and Savers pays BBBS for those goods based on the weight of the donations. And in Savers case, I learned that if you donate directly to BBBS at the store’s Community Donation Center, Savers weighs it and still pays Big Brothers Big Sisters even though BBBS didn’t have to deliver it– thereby saving the non-profit the cost of truck and delivery but still providing them with a steady stream of revenue! #MindBlown
When you donate to BBBS directly at the store, Savers rewards you with a discount punch card. The more bags you donate, the more money you save. In fact, the trunk of our SUV is filled with bags to donate so I’ll be getting 30% off!
The manager of the new Savers in Willow Grove took me to the back room to watch the entire process firsthand. There were about 15-20 workers in an extremely organized setting working a sorting assembly line. They inspect the clothing and sort by category. Then it gets tagged, hung, and put out on the floor. At least 5,000 pieces of clothing alone go out to the Savers floor EVERY. SINGLE. DAY, for a total of about 10,000 items total going out daily. If you’re wondering how to score the best items at a thrift store, this proves what I’ve always said: you really have to go as often as possible because they are filling the sales floor continually.
Here is the start of the clothing donation assembly line. You can see the cart that contains bags of donations, the bin for the discards to go to baling for recycling, a bin for trash, and the start of the sorting for items to be tagged:
Here’s a rack of women’s clothing ready to roll out on to the floor. I spy a few things I want already.
But the best is yet to come, in my mind anyways. I’m a green freak at heart, I almost cry when I accidentally throw away something that can be recycled. At Savers, they still accept torn or stained clothing but it goes into the baler. It’s baled up and sent to another sorting center where it’s either turned into rags, recycled, or sent to support developing countries.
Household goods operate in a similar way. If an item is broken, they’ll often strip it of parts and recycle things like cords. I LOVE THIS. Like, totally get starry eyed that this stuff isn’t all going into the trash.
Nothing goes to waste. Even smaller items are sorted and bagged together, like these flocked Christmas trees. Someone will want them, another item saved from a landfill.
Check out my helper. He grew up going to thrift stores, I’d bribe him inside by promising we could look for trains. To this day, he spots ALL the trains. Ashtray trains, train pajamas, vintage trains. He’s unreal, and I have to say, the BEST sidekick a mama could ask for!
Almost nothing stays on the sales floor longer than 3 weeks. If it hangs around longer than expected, they will donate it to a community shelter (such as donate blankets to animal shelters or dishware to women’s shelters). Again, no waste.
Since these are behind-the-scenes photos, not everything is ready yet. Regardless, it is still the nicest thrift store I have ever seen. Savers Thrift prides itself on being refined, organized, and having the best quality goods.
The store opens April 7th with a special Sneak Peek event on April 5th. I’ll tell you what, it was torture to spy so many great items and not be able to buy them. Come to mama:
Vintage lovers are going to go nuts here. The quality of the items is unreal.
Not many people could rock a snake necklace, but I bet my friend Julia from Cuckoo 4 Design could totally pull it off. At the very least I bet this could live very happily in her decor somewhere!
Everything about this place makes me happy. Recycling makes me happy. Helping the community makes me happy. And snagging quality goods for a steal makes me happy.
Stay tuned, I plan to attend the preview event and am going on a bargain hunt. Be sure to follow me on Instagram or Snapchat (I’m @MLblog) to see what’s in store! If you’d like to visit the store, here’s directions and information on store hours. See you there!
Disclosure: this is a sponsored post on behalf of Savers Thrift store in Willow Grove, PA. As always, all opinions are my own.