Thrifting is thriving: Salvation Army store provides options for residents

By Katie Brackens

Nice clothes, handbags, blankets and items for her grandchildren are just some of the things Rosa Lopez says she buys at the Salvation Army Family Store in Levelland. Located on Avenue H, the store has been open since June, 2022.

“The Salvation Army is a great nonprofit organization,” says store manager Irma Reyes. “We help people with clothes, house goods, food, utilities, anything that they need.”

In just a few weeks, the Salvation Army Family Store will be expanding and moving to a bigger spot.  The store is popular, and Reyes says they have so many items they would like to put out but just don’t have the space to do so where they are now. In addition to more space inside, the new store location, at 502 Avenue H, will also have more parking space outside.

Photo by Katie Brackens

Rosa Lopez is certainly not the only one thrifting. It’s popular nationally.

As it turns out, says there is a National Thrift Shop Day on Aug. 17, and it is about supporting local thrift shops and raising awareness for charitable organizations. According to the webpage for the National Association of Resale Professionals, there are more than 25,000 resale, consignment, and not for profit resale shops in the U.S.

It appears that thrifting is thriving, especially with the younger generations. For instance, one 2022 article on Oklahoma University’s student produced newspaper is headlined “Thrifting gains popularity as it becomes part of college culture.” In that article, senior Justin Ololo is quoted as saying, “I really got into thrifting culture when I was in high school. I would say 75 percent of my closet is thrifted. I think the clothes I find at thrift stores really fit my style. I like the vintage style clothing that usually appears at thrift stores, and it’s a good way to save money.” 

According to The Riverdale Review,  a monthly student newspaper of Riverdale Country School in New York, the top three reasons Generation Z are buying used clothes are: to save money, to be more sustainable, and to have more fun shopping.

Irma Reyes says college students could use a store like the Salvation Army Family Store to save money. “They can come in and buy anything,” she says.  “We love to help these students.”

Reyes says she has seen some South Plains College students like nursing students looking for scrubs, but she would love to see more.

The Salvation Army gives out vouchers to SPC students they can use if they need to buy something. For instance, if a student needs a jacket or bedding, the student can go to the Health and Wellness building to receive a voucher.

Director of Health and Wellness Rebecca Canon says, “Money is tight these days and everyone is having trouble so it’s available for every student who needs help.”

Of course, the Salvation Army Family Store isn’t just a place to shop.  People can also donate items.   If a student has too many clothes or they’re moving out of a dorm and don’t want to take items back home, the Salvation Family Store will gladly take those items.

Reyes says every piece of clothing donated will be used in one way or another. If the store here doesn’t use something, then it will be transferred to the Plainview store.  If it doesn’t use it, then it will be transferred to Dallas and so on.

Also, maybe someone needs to complete community service hours or just wants to find a place to volunteer.  That’s something someone can do at the store too. Reyes says there are only two employees who work in her store. The rest, she says, are volunteers who love to help out. They also get a 50% off discount for helping.

The current store is located at 1507 Avenue H in Levelland but it will be moving to 502 Avenue H in November.  It’s open Monday through Friday 10:00-3:00 p.m. Mondays are donations days only but the rest of the week people can go shop all they want.

For more updates, check the store’s Facebook page here.

Reyes says she is glad to have this story done because she feels like a lot of students don’t know the store is there to help.

“We love helping this community and we hope to keep doing so,” she says.  

Photo by Katie Brackens

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