Thrift (S)hoppin' on Frankford Ave

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Thrift shopping (v.): what singer/rapper, Macklemore, wrote that song about back in 2012.

Thrift hopping (v.): going to multiple thrift stores in one outing, searching for gem, but mainly just having yourself a day of surprises

We all know what a thrift store is. Goodwill is usually a go-to, but there are always some gems in what feels like every single area--or in Philly's case, every single neighborhood.

These stores sell donated or very cheap clothes at a highly discounted rate, but you never know what you're going to find on those silver racks. Big or small, the inventory in thrift shops can be hit or miss (which is true for everyone's style) because it's essentially a glorified (rightfully so) landfill of discarded clothes.

Because of its wavering nature, you might want to hit up a few shops in one day. Hell, you might wanna do that anyway just for the love of the hunt and a good outfit to boot.

Well, we've saved you some trouble and have compiled for you a walkable list of three thrift stores you'll find along Frankford Ave. in Fishtown--Urban Exchange Project, Circle Thrift, and Thunderbird Salvage--each worthy of a trip in their own right.

Urban Exchange Project (Frankford Ave. and Susquehanna Ave.): Family-owned corner store. You can't miss it. There's always a life-sized, decked-out Simpson's character sitting on a chair out front, neon and checkered signage, and an attention-demanding, urban-contemporary presence that'll reel you in. Upstairs, you'll find some trendy pieces with prices similar to Buffalo Exchange (aka the prices can vary, but you're finding the latest trends along with some hand-remixed clothes, so it can range from really low to slightly pricy). Upstairs is entirely great quality, but venture downstairs, and that's more of a namebrand thrift store type vibe that you might be used to.

*Fun Fact: Once a month, Urban Exchange does a Fill-A-Bag sale over a particular weekend, where you can purchase an empty bag for $30, fill it up to the top with whatever fits (from the lower level), and it's all yours to keep. People come and buy multiple bags and come back time and time again.

Circle Thrift (Frankford Ave. and Dauphin St.): Now this is a complete THRIFT store, but they've got some cool stuff. You can find anything from cool graphic tees, to homeware, to records and VHS tapes, and even to rollerblades. There are racks upon racks of clothes in here, and the workers are super helpful and friendly. So go in, browse, and at the very least, you'll come out with a few new friends and maybe a PlayStation 1 (speaking from personal experience).

Thunderbird Salvage (Frankford Ave. and Letterly St.): Man, oh, man--this one's a doozy. First, you won't be able to ignore the fact that this "thrift shop"/antique and vintage wonderland is housed in an old church (Yes, way.). Secondly, they've always got some interesting sculptures and doo-dads posted up outside that'll capture your attention before even getting in there. Once you actually enter, it's a free-for-all. You can find anything from sweet dresses from the 70s, a ton of scarves for $1 each, and artist-designed t-shirts. But step into the larger area, and that's the main event. You won't even know where to look. There's a music section, some street signs, antique Christmas decorations, pinball machines, wooden chairs, and that's just within your first five steps.

It's something you have to see for yourself, for sure. And when you gather up everything that you like, bring it all up to the counter at the front, where the totally cool and aloof salespeople will chat amongst themselves and price half of your items on a whim (cheap!).


So there you have it. Frankford Ave. is the spot to be when you're trying to Thrift Hop and not drive all over town. Who knew? 

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