In 2012, a rapper by the name of Macklemore gave thrift shops a whole new image with a Grammy winning song and a viral video. In between some fairly colorful lyrics, "Thrift Shop" features Macklemore and his friends boasting about the common sense of thrift shopping versus wasting money on expensive designer couture and suggests that a smart shopper can dress stylishly for a lot less. The video features some impressive thrift shop finds, from green alligator shoes to leopard minks, jackets with fringe, velour jumpsuits and old-school Velcro sneakers.
In an interview with MTV News, Macklemore expressed his disdain for rappers bragging about what they buy, including name brand clothing and high-priced champagne. He explained the song was the “polar opposite. It's kind of standing for, like, let's save some money... let's spend as little as possible and look as fresh as possible at the same time.” In the years since, thrift store shopping has experienced a huge popularity surge with a whole new generation of people.
So what does that have to do with animals, you ask? The SPCA Albrecht Center, like a lot of great nonprofit organizations, runs a thrift shop division to supplement operations. In fact, our thrift shops have been responsible for as much as one third of our operating budget in past years. What that means is that the more shoppers "pop some tags" at one of our stores, the more homeless animals we can feed, shelter and place in loving homes.
In addition to the clothing, some of which is in new or like-new boutique condition, it's also not uncommon for the SPCA thrift shops to receive donations of exquisite, antique furniture, beautiful wedding gowns, designer handbags, Oriental rugs, saddles, golf clubs and more. We even received an original Picasso earlier this year! Sorry, it sold. We have adoptable cats at our Mitchell shopping center store too, so you can find a whole new wardrobe and a new best friend.
You may not always find what you NEED in the thrift store, but what you find is always fun. And on November 5th from 6:00 - 8:00pm, you can have a lot of fun at our Whiskey Road store during the Winter Thrift Store Party. Enjoy holiday shopping, cocktails and food by Berry's Catering & Floral, plus a chance to win a mountain vacation to Lorelai's Lair in Warne, NC, including a free bottle of wine and entry to Cane Creek wine tasting. I've even heard whispers of Santa making an appearance.
Tickets are $10 in advance, $20 at the door, and double as a 15% coupon to be used the night of the event. Ticket and merchandise sales all benefit the furry friends in our shelter by helping us find them forever homes before the holidays.
Take a cue from Macklemore and get to hunting at your local thrift shops. The SPCA operates two in Aiken at 404 Richland Avenue East and 1589 Whiskey Road in the Mitchell Shopping Center. We welcome donations at both locations and can even arrange pick up if you have large items.
Visit LetLoveLive.org for Thrift Store hours and information about donating, including arranging a pick up, as well as event information. I hope to see you at the SPCA Thrift Store - where shopping saves lives!
Sarah Neikam is the Operations Manager for the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare. She is an Aiken native and has been with the Albrecht Center since 2012. Sarah's family includes three adopted cats: Bastian, Luna and Grady, who are all living happy, loved lives thanks to the efforts of the SPCA Albrecht Center.