FARGO — Every day is a holiday. For example, Sunday, Aug. 16, is National Roller Coaster Day. Monday, Aug. 17, is Black Cat Appreciation Day and National Thrift Shop Day, though individuals who would honor either of those would probably do so at a greater frequency than once a year.
Fans of thrift stores in particular are more likely to celebrate their favorite spot after the ongoing coronavirus pandemic closed brick-and-mortar shops for about two months this spring and led to major changes in how many operations work.
Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, which operates five stores in Fargo, West Fargo and Dilworth, Minn., will mark the day by celebrating the reopening of its space at 1001 Fourth Ave. N. in Fargo. The renovated outlet store is a “new concept,” says Lisa Olson, vice president of retail.
“It’s a great way to give clothes one more chance,” she says.
All clothes are $1, shoes are $3 and miscellaneous goods are sold by the pound.
A new north Fargo store is set to open this fall at 2101 N. University Drive. The stores help fund the residential treatment and educational center for kids and their families.
Olson estimates that the shutdown this spring took about a 20% cut out of annual sales, but she says business is back on par since reopening in mid-May. In fact, she says, stores saw a spike in sales and donations upon opening their doors again, so much so that drop-off hours had to be limited as spaces filled up with goods.
“With all of the people at home cleaning, people were really antsy getting stuff out of the house,” says Steve Johnson, manager of Heirlooms Thrift & Gift, 3120 25th St. S., Fargo.
He says that despite the drop in spring sales, business has returned to normal.
“I think the thrift world is doing OK,” he says.
Heirlooms will celebrate Thrift Shop Day with a televised tutorial on upcycling punch bowls, teacups and saucers for "North Dakota Today." Those items will be 25% off in the store.
The shop benefits Hospice of the Red River Valley and focuses on household goods, like glassware, china, gently used furniture, jewelry and select women’s clothes. The store uses appraisers to help value merchandise, but Johnson says the items are affordable enough to furnish a dorm room or a formal living room.
The store frequently posts pictures and prices to its Facebook page. Johnson says if you like something, you had better buy it right away: Things don’t last long in the store.
Arc Attic Treasures, has two stores in Fargo. The store helps fund advocacy and programming for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Twiggy Richter, who manages the north Fargo location at 255 N. University Drive, says both stores are taking full precautions with staff and guests wearing masks, cleaning stepped up and hand sanitizer at the ready. The stores have also closed restrooms and fitting rooms, prompting Richter to drop prices on clothes to encourage shoppers to take a chance. All pants are currently selling for $2.99, for example.
As of this writing, she and staff were still discussing what to do to mark Thrift Shop Day, but she’s already looking ahead to the next big holiday: Halloween decorations went up just a few days ago.
“We missed a whole season. I didn’t sell any swimsuits at all. I’ve got them down to 99 cents because no one is traveling anywhere,” she says.