As autumn descends upon Spokane, changing leaves and dropping temperatures call for a collective shift in clothing to combat chilly circumstances. 

For many, this means breaking out flannel, jackets, or even a mute color scarf to blend in with the fall scenery. However, if you’re like me and reside in the “fashion challenged” realm of the population, then building a fall outfit can be a difficult endeavor. 

In addition to overall style demands, shopping on a college budget can be a significant challenge. Wallets and purses are often pushed to their limits just to purchase one or two pieces of brand-name clothing.

Luckily, a solution exists to all these problems, in the bright yet often neglected corner of the second-hand shopping industry: thrift stores. 

Thrift stores are an affordable and exciting alternative to brand-name shopping, with more possibilities for impacting your community. The Spokane area around GU is brimming with thrift stores, each with distinct possibilities for fall fashion. 

After visiting a few on my own time, I compiled a list of stores around GU more than worth your consideration for your fall purchases. 

Global Neighborhood

919 E Trent Ave.

Perhaps the most conveniently located thrift store on this list, Global Neighborhood is a vibrant store with  myriad of used items, but also hidden gems. A quick five-minute walk from campus brings you to a store with great possibilities for a thrifting trip.

Each week, staff rotate through a “colored tag sale” which significantly reduces the price of items on sale, yellow tags could represent 50% or even 75% off depending on that week’s rotation.

“We sort through donations and rack them by sizes, everything up through name brand,” said Khalil Omar, a Global Neighborhood staff member. “We have discounts on name brands — Adidas, Nike and Banana Republic.” 

With discount options on everything from name brand clothing to secondhand rack items, Global Neighborhood is a veritable treasure trove for GU students to browse this season. 

Union Gospel Mission

301 W Boone Ave. #2313

Just like Global Neighborhood, Union Gospel Mission also rotates tag sales, but with an added bonus for GU students. Saturday brings a unique student deal where college students can receive an additional 20% off on all merchandise. 

Combining the Saturday student discount with already low prices makes adding to a fall wardrobe a painless process, especially where the wallet is concerned. 

As well as clothes, UGM carries a great deal of books and even some incredibly cheap school supplies for those looking to stock up for mid-terms or finals. 

With an organized sales floor and a robust clothing collection, UGM is a great choice for a fall shopping trip. Since it is one part of the Union Gospel Mission programs, all purchases support a wonderful community organization. 

The Salvation Army Thrift Store 

2020 N Division St.

The smallest store on the list, Salvation Army Thrift Store also happens to be the most unique; brimming with possibilities for a budget-minded thrifting spree. 

Although not as large as UGM or The Arc, what the Salvation Army Thrift Store lacks in size, it makes up for in opportunity. A solid selection of clothes — at the cheapest prices I had seen — provide ample material for some seasonal clothing changes. 

Many people who frequent thrift stores also engage in upcycling or taking secondhand clothes and creating something new from them. 

“Clothes can be so expensive, upcycling is a great way to help with expense,” said Jaden Kruse, a freshman Human Physiology major. “I bought my mom a shirt at a thrift store and since we couldn’t return it after I ended up making it into a nice skirt.”

The Salvation Army Thrift Store is the perfect store to work on your upcycling skills, incorporating a few upcycled looks into the fashion line-up for the season.

Goodwill Industries

1707 W Augusta Ave.

The farthest store off campus in the list, Goodwill Industries comes with its own set of unique benefits despite this particular challenge. 

Fall may be dictating fashion right now, but colder months lurk just around the corner. While carrying a vast expanse of lighter wear, Goodwill Industries also boasts the largest selection of cheap winter wear on this list. 

Forward thinking can save both time, money and energy this winter as Goodwill Industries has a large number of coats, boots and hats all at an immensely discounted price. 

A very welcome unexpected benefit to Goodwill Industries is also the winter sports options. They carry a surprising amount of used ski boots, helmets and secondhand skis to be purchased thoroughly marked down. 

If the drive, walk or bike isn’t an issue then Goodwill Industries certainly represents a great choice for GU students looking to get ahead of the weather when making clothing purchases.

The Arc

808 N Ruby St.

The location of this store is certainly enough to make it a prime near-campus choice. A Halloween-twist to the thrifting experience and price deductions store-wide take The Arc to another level this fall. 

Completely decorated for maximum Halloween “spookiness,” The Arc has an atmosphere that is true to the season, with merchandise to fit. A full rack of discount costumes provides thrifty students the perfect chance to acquire the scariest costume at a scary-cheap price. 

Fall spirit at The Arc extends far beyond clothing, with fall-themed decorations and houseware offered to make living spaces vibrant. Much like UGM or Global Neighborhood The Arc issues tag sales that cut prices on a wide variety of this merchandise as well.

No matter which thrift store you decide to shop at this fall, you’re making a difference in our community by buying secondhand and giving back to those in need. Even if you don’t feel the need to buy anything, sometimes just visiting and browsing can be an entirely positive experience.

“Sometimes you find something you never thought you’d need, but is actually really cool,” said Finn Pettit, a freshman at GU (and my thrifting partner-in-crime). “And once you find something like that, it just makes you glad you came.”


Anders Svenningsen is a staff writer

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