Where can I find…?

I love to hunt for treasures and there are certain “go-to” spots in/around Columbus that I’ll hit for specific things. Do I want to give away secrets? Sure, why not. It isn’t a good
“business” move, but I figure those who like to buy items at the antique mall will while those who prefer to ferret out goodies on their own will do so. In no particular order, here are my favorite haunts for goodies for my home and shop. Oh, and I will toss in my unsolicited review/opinion of them and my very own four star system of scoring!:

****HABITAT FOR HUMANITY RESTORE
(building materials, appliances, lighting, etc)

Website: http://www.habitatcolumbus.org/restore/
Parking: Ample parking
Staffing: Mostly men, all very nice and helpful. Not chauvinistic and will answer questions or tell you they don’t know if they don’t (refreshing, that!)
Shopping Experience: Large handtrucks for big purchases, carts for smaller ones. Dusty and sometimes downright dirty (not because they don’t clean, but just the nature of the
materials). Do not wear black when shopping. I recommend sneakers… cautionary
tale: had a tetanus shot once after impaling my ankle on a nail sticking out of
something there, but that’s what you get for being stupid wearing flipflops to a
salvage yard.
Payment: they accept cash, credit card (not sure about checks)
Security: Uniformed Security on hand all the time as well as cameras.
Pros: Great employees, great volunteers, fantastic selection of doors, windows, cabinets,
wood, sinks, and even furniture on occasion. Generally a good selection of
carpeting, tile, etc. and there are always tons of used appliances (often high
end) as well as new merchandise from close-outs and/or donations. Seasonally?
Expect flowers in spring and early summer and Christmas trees (often free) in
the day or two before Christmas. You never know what you’ll find so keep an
open mind. They don’t haggle on price (you may think this is a “con”
but I find it nice to go in and see a price and know: that’s it)
Cons: Prices are getting a little higher. Their small area devoted to household goods (think
cups, plates, etc) is way too expensive… stick to thrift stores for that stuff. They no longer have the great paint selection 😦 but the air is less toxic because of that 🙂
Best Advice:
know what Lowes/Home depot charge if you are looking for a big ticket item or something specific because their prices on some items are not as great a bargain as on others.

****COLUMBUS ARCHITECTURAL SALVAGE
(vintage, authentic, architectural elements)

Website: http://www.columbusarchitecturalsalvage.com/
Parking: limited, right next to expo center now, but very convenient to I-71
Staffing: All men (that I’ve seen) and very polite.
Shopping Experience:
Warehouse type atmosphere, can be a bit dusty
but not too bad. They will help you carry heavy things. Allow time to wander
and marvel because they have lots of great treasures.
Payment: they accept cash, credit card (not sure about checks)
Security: Not a hint of it, but may have cameras, but I never felt unsafe at their old location or the new one.
Pros: Great employees, great architectural elements you will not find anywhere else in this
part of Ohio. A phenomenal selection and carefully extracted from sites. Everything from raw lumber to doors and windows to corbels and hardware… oh, and usually some library card catalogs and the like. Their website is also great as it has many photos of available items to give a good idea of price and availability.
Cons: Look, it just ain’t cheap. But when you are looking for an item that hasn’t been made in 50-100 years, you expect to pay for it. I think they aren’t unreasonable, but if you are used to picking, you’ll get sticker shock here. Check out the prices on the website before going.
Best Advice:
If you think you will need an hour to look around, make sure you have two! It is a great place to lose yourself. Wouldn’t recommend taking small children here (lots of breakable and irreplaceable things). See Chris or Greg – nice guys – and have fun!

GOODWILL, ***MORSE RD and ****CLINTONVILLE (thrift store)
Website: http://www.goodwillcolumbus.org/
Parking: ample at both locations, but on Morse, people don’t seem to realize there is parking behind the store as well and I recommend you park back there to avoid being
blocked in. Morse is almost impossible to exit if heading West on Morse and the
drive pitches so you can’t get in or out quickly, so just be careful.
Staffing: Mostly women out front and mostly men in back, or so it seems. Helpful but overworked, I think. They’ll assist you with carrying out if they can. There seems to be a
higher turnover rate of staff in Clintonville location, but that could be due to student employees? I’m not certain.
Shopping Experience: Shopping carts at both locations but many carts at the Clintonville location still have the rods on them so you can’t leave store with them – aggravating
when trying to get things to your car. Both locations have decent furniture which occasionally goes on sale for 25 or 50% off. Both locals are now doing “color of week” discounts again. Houseware section is great at both spots as well as lamp and book selections.
Payment: they accept cash, credit card (not sure about checks)
Security: I think there are cameras but I haven’t seen security staff. I never felt unsafe at either location, although panhandlers are often outside the Clintonville location and the one gentleman can get loud. This isn’t unusual for anyone who has been in Columbus long.
Pros: Good product turnover for the most part. They do a pretty good job of keeping
clothes and merchandise sorted out and easy to find.
Cons: Prices are getting a little higher. Price on “Target” merchandise is generally ridiculous. I think it is set at something like half of whatever the target price was, but often it is broken merchandise, and not worth even remotely half. They will often use their wax pen (or whatever that is, china marker?) and write prices on things they shouldn’t write on, thereby ruining the item.
Best Advice: Carry a tide stick with you in case you find a perfect shirt/etc with a mystery
stain and you wonder, “will that come out?” Also, watch for sales posted on door, etc and also follow on twitter as some goodwill’s post their sales there (Sawmill is good for posting, though I don’t shop there)

****VOLUNTEERS OF AMERICA, INDIANOLA (thrift store)
Website:http://www.voago.org/
Parking: ample, but congested and people drive like idiots through that lot- just be careful
Staffing: mostly women, largely quiet and reserved, not pushy
Shopping Experience: Shopping carts, wide aisles, well lit. Hands down the bargain thrift store with prices like a thrift store SHOULD have and a good turnover because of it.
Furniture is sometimes limited, clothes here aren’t as nice as at goodwill (imho) but there are many more to choose from. Store has a smell that is odd, not bad but odd.
Payment: they accept cash, credit card (not sure about checks)
Security: I assume they have cameras but that is it. No issues, though
Pros: I hesitate to share because I don’t want competition, but… last Tuesday of every month? Everything in the store is half off. Yup… everything in the whole place is half off. Other days? Look up at the wall and you will see one featured tag color that is 50% off and one that is 75% off! Another great thing is how they display many of the small items (that generally ‘junk’ up thrift store shelves) in clear bags hanging above the shelves. It makes it so much easier to see what is available.
Cons: The only con that leaps to mind is that weird smell. Because of that smell, I’ve never purchased clothing there, which is probably silly.
Best Advice: have an open mind- you are less likely to come across an antique here than at
goodwill, but there is always something great and the store is organized in clear sections.

*SALVATION ARMY, MORSE RD (thrift store)
I won’t even waste my time here except to say that I’ve been there 3 times recently and all three times the store was dirty/smelled rank “iffy”, the employees were rude, and on two of the three occasions, they apparently wanted to go home because they closed the store early. No, not “Hey, grab your stuff and head to the register because we are closing soon” but turning off lights and walking through the aisles, ringing the little bell they have on the
counter and announcing they were closed. Third time was a charm for me, I don’t think I’ll be back.

Those are my favorite Columbus Haunts for bargains – add to that the OSU auctions, OSU surplus, other auctions, and our premium curbing opportunities, etc? And Columbus is a great place to bargain shop.

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One Response to Where can I find…?

  1. Pingback: Booth Update – Greater Columbus Antique Mall | ditto

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