I love reading other blogger’s posts about the places they shop, especially if they’re places I’m not familiar with. Okay, sometimes there’s a big swell of jealousy to get over. I spent three years on the other side of the world where there were few fun shopping options, fewer affordable ones, and little to no thrift opportunity. Today I have two stores to talk about — one that I think is even funner than the Forever 21 accessory store and you might have near you, and one that’s the thrift store every other thrift store wants to be when it grows up. If you’re ever near one or the other, I suggest you stop by.
First… Charming Charlie. Do you have one near you? I saw a friend mention it on Facebook. I’d never heard of it so I looked it up. There wasn’t one all that close to me at a quick glance, so I forgot about it. Filed for later reference. And then, not even a week later, my husband and I were out for date night. We were in an area we’d never visited before – the National Harbor – and I was checking out the map of shopping and dining. My eyes almost popped out of my head when I realized there was a Charming Charlie not even a block away. My poor husband. We’ve been together for 14 years, so I guess he’s not surprised when date nights are briefly hijacked by trash pickups and shopping excursions. He’s not ever gotten upset about it. Bless him.
So we went. Well, I went, and he walked around to see what else was open and check out The Awakening. And? It. was. awesome. One of the largest accessory (+ some clothing) stores I’ve ever seen, totally affordable in the retail realm, and ORGANIZED BY COLOR. That’s the best part. See? Here’s about 1/3 of the purple section. Adrianna can just run on past it for blue.
Pardon the after dark cell phone photos. This is blog photography on the fly. I think my favorite section was the clear/almost clear stuff. But it’s not as exciting to photograph as, say, the red section:
In the end I walked away with almost the same shirt in two different colors. And a few bracelets that I think I can mix and match for fun. And an intense desire to go back. Maybe with a plan next time. On to part 2 of this post…
So now that I live outside of DC and have dozens of resale and thrift stores to choose from, I’m even jealous of myself. I’ve found some fantastic stuff. I wasn’t unhappy with my options…. and then this new store opened. My first thought was “Wow, that’s a huge store space they’ve chosen. With all of the other thrift stores around here, how will they stock it?” Ha. I still can’t really grasp how it happens, but somehow it does. The existing stores around here were a lot of Goodwill Superstores and Salvation Army stores. This new one, 2nd Avenue, is run by Purple Heart and… wow… someone really figured out how to make this work. The things I love most about it:
1. It doesn’t smell funny. Seriously, for the first ten minutes of my first trip, I walked around smelling. How does it not smell funny? In every other thrift store I eventually get annoyed by the mix of detergent scents and dusty mustyness and occasional flat-out funk. I guess I was looking for hidden machinery that makes it smell better. Couldn’t find any. I’m thinking it’s partly because there’s no carpet on the floor. And maybe partly because the store is new. And partly because it looks like they’re working hard to keep it neat. And partly because they seem to be quite choosy about what makes it to the sales floor. Whatever the reasons, I really loved the lack of funny smell.
2. The shelving makes sense. See? Tchotchkes are difficult to neaten, and they’ve figured it out. You can actually see things because the shelves are tall, shallow and well-lit.
4. Mostly ORGANIZED BY size and COLOR, on hangers that match. There’s a theme to my shopping happiness.
5. The reason I won’t ever bring my kids with me. Or if I got crazy, maybe I’d bring one at a time. LOTS of kid excitement. This was the least neat aisle in the store. I can let that go, given that *I* wouldn’t be able to keep my two from wreaking havoc here.
My favorite find of my first trip: near-perfect Pedipeds for $2.90. Okay, they don’t fit my girls, but I know one that they’ll be darling on.