Thanksgiving weekend typically marks the start to the holiday shopping season. And this season, shoppers might want to consider the “gift of thrift” – a gift from a thrift shop or second-hand store.

Second gifting, or re-gifting isn’t considered gauche any more. In fact, it has become kind of a shopping trend. And it’s a way to provide multiple levels of giving, which may be especially needed and fulfilling this pandemic Christmas.

Brianna Sullivan, who manages Trending Upward Thrift Shoppe at 141 Depot Drive in Waconia, located adjacent to Promise Church, says this about thrift shopping: “It used to be you didn’t buy a gift at a second-hand store. Now it has become much more acceptable.”

In fact, it can be a downright good value, a way to find unique items, ties to the growing sustainability movement and is a way to help others.

Trending Upward Thrift Shoppe is a non-profit, faith-based ministry of Promise Community Church. It started about 10 years ago as a place to purchase affordable clothing and household goods. A portion of profits each month go to a local non-profit.

When it began, Trending Upward operated just a few hours a week. Now it is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays, and until 5 p.m. on Saturdays. The store was recently remodeled and offers an expansive line of items, although it’s not huge like a Goodwill store or shopping mall, so it offers a more intimate, less overwhelming shopping experience.

The store might get 50-60 shoppers on any given today, according to Sullivan, many shopping for women’s clothing or clothing for their kids.

Kids grow quickly, she notes, so many donated children’s clothes that come in are lightly worn, and sometimes brand new because parents get so many items from grandparents and others when kids are little. The same goes for toys.

The great thing about giving these items as gifts, Sullivan says, “is kids don’t know or care where they come from.”

That is until they reach junior high and high school. Then they become more brand and fashion conscious, although Sullivan says she sees a growing number of young people at Trending Upward.

Rose Martinez, creative lead, responsible for promotions and social media for Promise Church, notes there are a growing number of shoppers turning to thrift shops and second-hand stores for specialized and vintage items.

Colorful 1990s clothing is popular now. So are certain vintage brand logo items like Pepsi, and items from Y2K, the next-century milestone from 20 years ago.

Interest in thrifted gifts also reflects consumer sentiment toward second-hand apparel, sustainable fashion (name brands do come into the store) and more environmentally conscious shopping – particularly among younger shoppers, millennials and Gen Z.

Shoppers also may be purchasing thrift store items to sell again on eBay or other online sales platforms.

Sullivan is pursuing a master’s degree in strategic management, and has done enough shopping research and worked at Trending Upward long enough, so she can usually identify the store or the merchandise line when a donation comes in. And she generally knows what will sell and what won’t.

Trending Upward takes most items, except large stuff and furniture. Sullivan sends people with furniture just down the road to Freshwater Furniture Depot, which was featured on these pages several months ago.

Items that don’t sell, or are less appealing are donated to help others. It’s a matter of “sellable versus wearable,” and making the best use of Trending Upwards’ sales floor and warehouse space, Sullivan explains.

For example, Trending Upward and Promise Church have a partnership with Park Harbor Church in St. Louis Park to donate excess items to support the Harbor’s mission of helping the homeless in Minneapolis.

So, donations and purchases at the thrift shop are literally a gift that keeps on giving.

Merry Thiftmas, and happy holiday shopping!

Call Trending Upward at 952-261-2343 or go to trendingupward.org for donation drop-off information.

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