Browsing thrift stores either leaves you feeling like a failure because you didn’t find anything you want, or, THE BEST SHOPPER ALIVE BECAUSE YOU PAID $5 FOR SOMETHING THAT COSTS $150 BRAND NEW, SUCKERS!
When it comes to thrift stores, my mom and my Auntie Janie are experts. No, seriously. They’ll find something that looks like actual garbage, pay a few bucks for it, clean it up, and sell it for a massive profit. Think American Pickers, but without the goofy commentary.
During her first trip to visit us in Fort Riley, my mom discovered that this area is a thrift store gold mine. She and my aunt came back a few months later in a pickup truck and loaded up that bad boy with all sorts of great finds they took home and sold in South Carolina.
While there are dozens of thrift stores in the Fort Riley area, this list includes stores that are “Mom and Auntie Janie Approved.” And trust me, they’ve hit every store within a 20 mile radius.
13700 Tuttle Creek Blvd, Randolph
Located about 20 miles outside Manhattan, this place is absolutely awesome. Run by a sweet guy named Charley (obviously), it’s only open Friday, Saturday and Sunday 10 am – 5 pm. I personally scored a huge, near-flawless solid oak China cabinet for $100. Mom and Auntie Janie love this place because Charley doesn’t have junk—he inspects all of the goods and only sells quality items. He knows the inventory inside and out, so if you tell him what you’re looking for, he’ll probably find something at least close to what you want.
Like a good secondhand salesman, Charley will take offers and knows that a good deal is better than no deal.
Right and Up Tip: Bring cash and water. If you visit this place in the summertime, it’s extremely hot and the only relief comes from a few fans Charley has hooked up. Also, go to the bathroom before you hit the road, unless you don’t mind a portable toilet.
Ogden’s Best Thrift Store
South Walnut Street, Ogden
If you’re coming from post, take a right on Walnut Street and follow it all the way down past the railroad tracks to find Ogden’s Best Thrift Store (it’s the only thrift store, so it’s an accurate name!). It’s on the left side of the road just before the KS-18 overpass.
When Mom and Auntie Janie visit, this place is their first stop when they set out on their picking adventure. The main building sells everything from bedroom furniture to jewelry for great prices. But the real draw for my flipping family members is the dollar room in the smaller building in the back. Everything inside is, you guessed it, $1.
It’s full of the most random items, from records to hair rollers to candles. Remember The Junk Lady from Labyrinth? Imagine her, but instead of carrying all that crap on her back, it’s in this room. But it’s AWESOME. I have a solid wood cutting board in my kitchen right now that I found in there. While digging around on a shelf, Auntie Janie found a crystal perfume atomizer. Seriously, spend 10 minutes in there and you’ll find at least three cool things you’ll want.
Plus, the nice lady who runs the store will pretty much take any offer you give her if you think something in the main building is priced a little too high.
339 E 10th Street, Junction City
This two-building store offers lots of furniture, home décor, collectibles and kitchen items. This is a great place if you’ve just moved to Fort Riley and don’t want to spend a ton of money furnishing your new place. The garage building on the left houses all the furniture like sofas, dining room tables, coffee tables, etc., while the store on the right has all the knickknacks, art, décor and so on. Both buildings are clean and organized, plus the employees are extremely friendly. There’s also a second smaller location on Grant Avenue just outside Fort Riley’s gate.
Disabled American Veterans Thrift Store
1505 N Washington St, Junction City
This local DAV chapter allows you to feel extra happy about the purchases you make since the DAV supports veterans and their family members in a variety of ways. Half the store features furniture, décor and kitchen items, while the other half has racks of clothes. In fact, I scored a brand new tags-still-on Cache evening gown for $5 from this store. The furniture is unusually pricey, but Mom and Auntie Janie have found some random treasures like a Cyprus wood clock they bought for $8 and sold for $45.
Junction City and Manhattan
Goodwill is hit or miss, depending on what you’re looking for. The locations here mostly sell clothes, which is great if that’s what you need. I found exactly what I was looking for when putting together a Frankenstein Halloween costume for my husband and ugly Christmas sweaters for a holiday party. Both locations are very well organized and kept tidy.
Fort Riley Post Thrift Shop
267 Stuart Ave, Fort Riley
The thrift store on post is actually a consignment store, so the store itself has no control over the prices. I’ll be honest: some stuff is way overpriced. However, you can find some great deals if the sellers want to get rid of their stuff and are happy with any profit.
Right and Up Tip: Keep up with the Fort Riley Post Thrift Shop Facebook page to see what they’re sell and what they are or are not accepting for consignment at that time.
Twice a year (in the Spring and Fall) Fort Riley will host yard sales where everyone on post is welcome to sell stuff. Of course you can have a yard sale whenever you want, but the post-wide events entice people from all over the community to come on post and dig through the junk you want to get rid of, thus giving you a greater chance for success. I found several items for my baby that I bought for just a few dollars when they would have cost me a few hundred brand new.
About the Author
Rachel is an Auburn grad (War Damn Eagle!) and holds a degree in journalism. While working as a sports writer covering the Tigers, she met a cute, tall officer stationed at Fort Benning. A few margaritas, conversations about why a no-huddle offense is superior and 18 months later, they got married. They have PCS’d to Fort Huachuca, Fort Riley and will soon head to Washington DC. They have a ridiculously adorable son named Gavin and two furry children, Jeter and Lilly.