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From pricing to accessibility: A guide to thrifting in Ithaca

Lorien Tyne
Hudson, pictured above, sews a pair of jeans at his thrift store, Evergreen. Hudson opened the store with hopes to make a change in thrifting, to epicycle clothes ethically and sustainability.

The small town of Ithaca is stuffed with a variety of different thrift stores. Some of the stores are large chains, such as Plato’s Closet, whereas others are small, locally owned shops, such as Evergreen. These stores range in price, size inclusivity and available merchandise.


Rating: 4/5

Best aspect: Easy to find good quality vintage

609 W Clinton Street 

Evergreen is a locally owned consignment shop filled with cute plants, rock music and a great vibe that stems from its good organization and friendly staff. Unfortunately, the hours of the store are sometimes hard to work around. Evergreen is closed Monday-Wednesday. On Thursday and Friday, it is only open from 2-6 p.m. and on the weekend it is open from 12-4 p.m.  

Evergreen is a curated vintage shop, making the price more expensive, meaning the shop looks for clothes that will match a vintage style. They can justify the price because they have taken the time to sort through inventory, instead of a customer having to do that. In a traditional thrift store, it is up to the customer to dig and find these vintage items.  

When asked about the price, Gavin Quick, a store associate, said the price is ultimately based on the store’s selection. 

“We provide the best price for the quality that’s given,” Quick said. “What we have in terms of quality and age and the material price, you won’t be able to beat.” 

While Evergreen does offer a good selection of items, the price may not be worth it if similar items can be found at a thrift store for much cheaper. Evergreen prices range from $20 – $100, whereas thrift stores usually range from $1$20. In a traditional thrift store, customers could roam the aisles for hours to find vintage pieces, whereas at Evergreen it takes less time, but it comes at a high cost. Evergreen also does not offer student discounts. The decision ultimately comes down to which to sacrifice: time or money? 

First-year Ayla Khosropaur, a customer at Evergreen, said Evergreen is not her go-to thrift store. For college students on a budget, she said it is really expensive.  

“It’s fun, I just like the vintage clothes here,” Khosropaur said. “I don’t get all my things from here because it’s expensive.”  

In order to get this vintage, Evergreen’s curation process involves buying clothes from their customers. Khosropaur said that she’s been involved with this process and that this allows her to get store credit.  

Quick said Evergreen relies on customers for their supply.

“The majority of it comes through buy-sell trends, customers can come in and sell to us,” Quick said.  

Overall, Evergreen is a great place to find vintage items; however, it comes at a high cost. Going to Evergreen will not offer a traditional thrifting experience because the experience of digging for a really cool item in a bin of clothing is lost. 

Thrifty Shopper 

Rating: 3.5/5

Best Aspect: Cheap Prices

376 Elmira Road

Thrifty Shopper is a small chain with locations around Upstate New York. The shop offers a wide selection of clothes and home goods at an affordable price. Purchases made at the store go toward the Rescue Mission Alliance. Thrifty Shopper has student discounts on Thursdays and when customers recommend the store to a friend. Clothes in the store are organized by their type. This type of organization, instead of arranging items all together, makes it easier to find certain clothing. It prevents the endless loop of running up and down the racks.  

In addition to all the clothes, Thrifty Shopper also has some great knick-knacks. There are shelves of rustic art, cups and lamps. First-year Caroline Melick, a customer at Thrifty Shopper, said this was one of the highlights of her trip.

“[Thrifty Shopper] is more of an experience with friends,” Melick said.  “They have nice knick-knacks and games that are fun to look through.”

The sizes at Thrifty Shopper range from toddler sizing to adult XXL. There is a good amount of children’s clothes, but a majority of adult clothing remains in the sizes SXL. 

The clothing items are decently priced, with an average shirt being around $3. Melick said this low price point does come at a cost.

“Even though it is only two bucks for a shirt, you have to look at if there are stains or rips.” Melick said. “You have to really dig.”

As a whole, Thrifty Shopper is a great place to roam the well-sorted items and rummage through the home decor.  

Plato’s Closet

Rating: 4/5

Best Aspect: Popular name-brand clothes

106 Fairgrounds Memorial Parkway

Plato’s Closet is a popular consignment store chain that sells clothes curated for teenagers and college students. All clothes are well organized by color and size and geared for a specific season. Now that it is fall, sweaters, coats, scarves and pants take up most of the store’s merchandise. At this location, there is a wide selection. Plato’s offers a 10% discount when a college ID is shown.  

Plato’s Closet is located in South Meadow Square. This makes it difficult to get to by TCAT.  From Ithaca College, it takes two buses and a two-minute walk, which together takes 54 minutes.  

Plato’s is a consignment store, meaning that customers can sell their old clothes to the store if it is of proper quality. The clothes have been curated to be trendy in-season styles, which means there is definitely a steeper price. An average shirt is about $10. While it does tend to lean on the pricier side, it is definitely easier to find specific items.

First-year Kristina Houston said it is easy to locate good-quality and name-brand clothing. She said even though the prices at Plato’s are more than at thrift stores, the price is ultimately worth it.

“For the quality of stuff you are getting and the brand names, it really is not expensive,” Houston said. “It is much easier to shop here and have good luck finding things that you are going to wear.” 

As for size inclusivity, it is hard to find anything bigger than an XXL. The selection of clothes larger than an XXL are much smaller compared to small and medium clothes. 

Shyann Bakos, Plato’s store manager, said Plato’s is a great place to shop because it is a way to shop secondhand while still getting popular name-brand clothing. 

“You can get top name brands for 50 to 70% off of retail value,” Bakos said. “It’s good for the earth — it is always good to shop sustainably.”

Overall, Plato’s is a good option when in-style and in-season clothing is a necessity. However, because of the price, it is not a roam-around-and-select-every-cool-item type of shop. One of Plato’s highlights is the friendly French Bulldog named Winston who runs around the store.  

Salvation Army

Rating: 3/5

Best Aspect: Good location

150 North Albany St.

Salvation Army is a large thrift store with a large amount of inventory. Proceeds from shopping at Salvation Army go toward a variety of social programs, including prison services, human and sexual trafficking advocacy and social services. The Salvation Army does not offer student discounts.

Salvation Army is definitely a traditional thrift store with its racks upon racks of cheap clothes in practically any size. The store also has a good selection of furniture, home goods and other knick-knacks. The store offers the traditional thrifting experience of having to roam and dig for items. There are racks upon racks of clothing, the store is often filled with people and religious music blasts through the store’s speakers. This makes the experience of shopping at Salvation Army a little overwhelming.  

First-year Rowan Emery said he prefers to shop at thrift stores, though consignment stores do have something to offer.  

“Thrift stores are where things are cheaper and you might have to dig more to find gems,” Emery said. “But if you want to find good pieces of clothing, [consignment stores] are a good place.”   

Overall, the Salvation Army is the place to go for a traditional thrift experience. It is located on Albany Road and is accessible by the TCAT since the 11 bus from the college has a stop close by.  

Evergreen, Plato’s, Thrifty Shopper and Salvation Army all offer different things. It is up to the customer’s personal preference to decide which store would work best for them.    

Houston said that thrifting should be an experience and it sometimes is a tedious process.

“You have to have an eye for making things work,” Houston said. “You have to go more than once to get a decent amount of pieces.”

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Sarah Mooney, Staff writer
Lorien Tyne, News Editor
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  • N

    NanOct 4, 2023 at 6:49 pm

    Ooops. I meant Elmira road not Meadow Street.

  • N

    NanOct 4, 2023 at 6:47 pm

    Correction to your article…the Salvation Army store is not in Albany Street. It is located on Meadow Street just across the street from the Thrifty Shopper.
    Otherwise, great story.