October 2, 2022


Dingy, dated and dusty are a few words that might come to mind when thinking about thrift shops.

A few Conestoga College students summed up Value Village, Goodwill and The Salvation Army with these three thoughts: “ugly sweaters, charity and ‘my grandma would love this.’”

Marc Donkersgoed, Value Village supervisor at 50 Gateway Park Dr. in Kitchener, said that most thrift shops offer a lot more than what meets the eye.

Presumably, the majority of the store is clothing — but that’s not all.

The Gateway Park Drive location has over 10,000 books, hundreds of DVDs/VHSs and rows upon rows of magazines, CDs and records.

“They have everything from quilts to wedding dresses to hot plates. It’s wild what you can find,” said Dean Stevens, a thrift enthusiast.

The housewares section is overflowing with funky finds at a great value.

“Students can buy full sets of dinnerware for the table or mix and match to suit their personality,” Donkersgoed said.

Undoubtedly, thrift shops have their fair share of random knick-knacks, like a rainbow-coloured wax candle in the shape of flip-flops, a clock missing its minute hand or a lopsided sunhat, but if you open your mind great items can be found.

Loud and colourful printed skirts can become innovative punchy pieces to a summer wardrobe. It’s all about how you wear it.

Donkersgoed said he was surprised by how many donated things still have original tags on them.

“People donate brand new things,” he said.

There truly is a great value to be found when shopping at Value Village.

A friend of Donkersgoed’s found a teapot for $4.99 that was worth hundreds.

“If you know your names it can be quite exciting to find items at a fraction of their  actual value.”

Donkersgoed said Value Village has received designer suits worth about $2,000 new, which have been sold for $40.

“A lot of Lululemon and TNA come in. Some of it is barely used … Lulu might be priced between $14.99 and $39.99 here but over $100 new.”

Donkersgoed said everything is priced depending on how “loved” it was. If Value Village receives “poorly-loved” clothing (i.e. anything with holes) it gets boxed up and sent to Third World countries.

So what is the worth of some of these items?

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo novel – $4.99

A large standing globe – $5.99

A Hollister denim skirt – $7.99

That joyous feeling that comes at the checkout when your merchandise comes to $19 instead of $128 – Priceless

Donkersgoed suggested to arrive with an open mind, lots of time and to walk down aisles that might not interest you initially.

“It’s a bit of a treasure hunt but … you can get some very good deals.”

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