CLT Bargains: Queen City’s Thrift Shop Guide
For some, thrifting is an art. For others, it’s all about the thrill of the chase. Whatever your fix, here are some of Charlotte’s prominent spots to find great deals.
by Spero Lawson
Per a COVID-19-related Mecklenburg County health directive issued Jan. 12, 2021, please note that some businesses may have modified their hours of operation and changed procedures in order to comply with CDC and Mecklenburg County Health Department guidelines. Please wear a mask, limit any non-essential activities and refrain from gathering with anyone outside of your household.
As the resale market has continued to soar, so has Charlotte’s list of shopping stops. We’ve curated a list of Charlotte thrift store locations where you can snag great deals on unique fashion finds. On your mark. Get set. Go find those hidden gems.
Area: Midtown, South Charlotte, Rock Hill
Often mistaken as a consignment shop, Clothes Mentor is a resale store carrying like-new women’s clothing, apparel, shoes, jewelry and accessories. Organized by color and size (up to size 26), it’s easy to explore the on-trend, second-hand fashion finds here. The Midtown and Rock Hill locations also offer a free personal shopping program to make the adventure of thrift shopping even easier.
The Rat’s Nest is the perfect spot for all the pack rats out there who know there is a hidden treasure in a collection of vintage things. Located in NoDa, the heart of Charlotte’s art district, The Nest offers a chic setup of retro boots, old band tees, NASCAR jackets and vintage Western wear (aka something for everyone).
Area: South Charlotte
Visit this all-vintage stop located inside Sleepy Poet Antique Mall. Relive the decade of your daydreams with their dense throwback collections of clothing and home decor dating from the ‘40s to the ‘80s (plus a few '90s finds). New selections are added regularly at this one-of-a-kind spot on South Boulevard.
Area: Matthews, South Charlotte, University City
With all their flashy and seasonal styles, Plato’s Closet is known as the “No. 1 Ranked Teen Resale Franchise” with a huge selection of popular styles for the up-and-coming generation. The North Charlotte location is the largest Plato’s Closet in the world, so stop by, take a gander and trade your styles in for some dollars.
Area: South Charlotte
The name says it all: Get ready for some quality digging at this antique store off South Boulevard. Hidden Treasures houses a collection of discounted furniture—think old-school armoires and retro desks—as well as a little bit of everything else. Plus, they deliver for a small fee.
Area: Northeast Charlotte, Mount Holly
This isn’t the store featured on the A&E Network, but you’ll find phenomenal deals here just the same. The shop does pick-ups throughout the Charlotte region of gently used clothes, furniture and household items and then sells them at their two thrift store locations. The stores have a furniture and special boutique section to make this trip a one-stop shop.
Area: Multiple locations
As popular as Goodwill is, you might think you know all there is about the brand and its locations, but the Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont is full of surprises. With a staggering 25 locations in the Charlotte-metro area, you are guaranteed to find a location near you. They also offer a tech store and two high-end specialty stores called GW, one in South End and the other at the Goodwill Opportunity Campus in West Charlotte, along with a hidden outlet store called Second Editions. Be sure to give back while visiting any of their locations; they collect donated items and recycled clothes in a designated drop-off area.
Salvation Army Family Thrift Store
Area: Matthews, Plaza Midwood, Pineville, Kannapolis, Gastonia
Donate or shop for clothing, furniture, home goods, electronics and even used vehicles. Give a second life to gently used merchandise at the family thrift store while also helping give a second chance to people in need across the country. Every purchase helps fund the Salvation Army’s life-changing rehabilitation programs.
Area: University City, South End, South Charlotte, Huntersville
Shop top brands like Coach, Michael Kors, Polo, Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, J. Crew, Banana Republic and more as well as shoes, bags and accessories at this award-winning resale franchise concept for fashionable teens and young adults. Touting affordable prices and gently used gear, Uptown Cheapskate has four locations in the Charlotte-metro area. While visiting, scour their clearance sections for even steeper savings.
Area: Multiple locations
You can remember them as Goodwill’s cousins. With six locations in Charlotte and surrounding areas, Value Village is known, by many, for being an affordable thrift store with a huge variety of high-quality, high-end fashion. The family-owned thrift store carries women's, men's and children's clothing, collectible treasures, costume jewelry, household items and a hallowed book section. Remember to recycle your unused clothes while there.
Thrift for a Cause:
It can be rewarding to help others while treating yourself. To know that your purchases also benefit others in need only makes the reward that much better. Below is a list where you can thrift for a cause.
- Assistance League of Charlotte Thrift Shop – This nonprofit volunteer organization that puts caring and commitment into action through community-based philanthropic programs funded by their benevolent thrift store. Expect to find great bargains on furniture, electronics and more.
- Backporch Treasures Thrift Boutique - The “back porch” of Matthews HELP Center leads to a fabulous thrift boutique called Backporch Treasures. You can browse a selection of brand new, antique and collectible items online or in the store. Its mission is to help neighbors and those in surrounding communities survive financial crises by providing short term assistance.
- The Wearhouse - What started as a bunch of donated items sitting in a closet at Camino Church in University City in 2005 is now one of Charlotte’s most popular thrift stores. Carrying gently used clothes, household items, toys and furniture, The Wearhouse (formerly Camino Thrift Store) helps support Camino Community Center programs, including a health clinic, mental health clinic, a food pantry and more.
- Cvan’s Cool Used Stuff - Located in Concord, North Carolina, Cvan’s houses a great combination of fabulous bargains in an inviting atmosphere. All profits are used to help battered women and their children find safety, shelter and support.
- Great Things - This nonprofit resale boutique operated by Friendship Community Development Corporation (FCDC) in West Charlotte offers men’s and women’s designer clothing, designer handbags and shoes. Its mission is to provide homeless, single women with safe, temporary housing while empowering them to become self-sufficient citizens.
- Zabs Place - This affordable, upscale and inclusive nonprofit thrift boutique is situated in downtown Matthews. Zabs’ mission is to provide training and employment opportunities to young adults with special needs.
Article originally written by Spero Lawson. Updates by Kristen Moore.