This is me and my sister. She is by far my favourite thrift buddy. We have the same instincts for stuff, know when we’ve had enough, know when there’s one more shop we can see. We hit four thrift shops in one day in Richmond – some I’ve blogged about before but one I’d never been to: the Vancouver Airport Chapel Thrift Shop. Friends, this is an experience.
The shop is only open on Fridays from noon – 5 pm. About 80% of their stock comes from the airport itself – stuff that people forgot on a plane (the rest is donated.) The space is small and it is JAM PACKED. It’s ridiculous, actually.
There was predictable stuff: scissors, sunglasses and reading glasses, nail clippers (they give these away), pocket knives, neck pillows. There were about 3 dozen umbrella strollers, a ton of cutlery, weird knick-knacks.
Our mistake was leaving this one until last. This is the kind of store where you need fresh energy and a good pair of rubber gloves. You need to roll up your sleeves. You need an hour to sort and dig.
What I really don’t like is that nothing is priced so you don’t know what to expect in terms of costs. It’s cash only, there’s no cash register, the money is on the volunteer in a fanny pack. Is this a security risk?
So there’s a few things I wonder about. Why are they only open for one afternoon a week? If they were open more, they’d actually get through some stuff and might be able to price things. It must be due to lack of volunteers. My son wondered why I didn’t haggle on the price. Didn’t even occur to me – but I bet I could have. We’re going to go back some day so he can show me how it’s done. Why this location? This is a destination thrift shop – you don’t just happen upon it, you have to know it’s there and be intentional about going to it. Again, this must be a cost thing – perhaps a warehouse front is cheaper to rent than a store front and there’s no expectations in terms of staffing, and making it cash only (without even a cash register) makes everything … well, like a garage sale, really.
The VAC Thrift Store is located at 4871 Miller Road in Richmond. If you get on their mailing list, they’ll let you know what deals they’re highlighting each week and when they’re having closures (they’re closed March 7th, for example). The store supports the unique work of the chapel at the Vancouver Airport. Check out this interesting youtube video about it – you’ll see what I mean it being full!
So tell me, is this your kind of thrift shop?