Local thrift stores create a sense of community

The Other Side Vintage. Photo courtesy: Samuel Williams

The up-cycling and vintage culture in Tallahassee has been on the rise in recent years. Multiple thrift and consignment stores have been quite successful in establishing footholds in the community.

There are a variety of local businesses that use thrifting as their main source of income.

Corporate stores, such as the Goodwill’s of the Big Bend, have become welcome storefronts. Mom and pop stores, such as The Other Side Vintage and Two Gals Thrift Shop, have become staples of society as many locals use these shops to enrich their wardrobes and their homes.

Charles Pate is a veteran employee at The Other Side Vintage. He said the store’s impact is felt throughout the community every day.

“The shop is a creative hub,” Pate said. “ The amount of treasured objects and valuables people find here are absurd in the best way possible.”

“Without thrift stores like The Other Side Vintage, Tallahassee would start losing its character,” he added.

Pate said that local thrift stores closing impact the community significantly.

“It is honestly really sad to see stores closing,” Pate said. “It is like losing a piece of a museum. I really think [the store] brings everyone together, and it brings a sense of wholesomeness throughout the community.”

Alexander Harris is an avid thrifter who is a student in the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering. Harris said that thrift stores break stigmas of cultural censorship.

“You can really find just about anything or anyone there,” Harris said. “The stores create a meeting center for all walks of life, and truly brings the best of people together.”

Brittney Johnson is a volunteer worker at the Goodwill on West Pensacola Street. Like Pate and Harris, Johnson said the thrift stores create a sense of community, while also being a center for trade.

“Personally, I love it here,” Johnson said. “The joy of helping people and finding even better versions of what they’re looking for gives us all a sense of pride.”

Johnson agreed that both local thrift shops and up-cycling corporations, such as Goodwill, are irreplaceable.

“I think without such a large selection and different shops to go to, I believe the town would suffer,” Johnson said.

It is clear that the presence of local thrift stores is received in a positive way.