Few things give me as much joy as a good “find” at a thrift store. I will tell you ad nauseum about the wine glasses I scored at the dollar store for $1 each or the marble bathroom counter with two Kohler sinks I found at a Habitat Re-store.
Seriously, you can’t shut me up about it. But then suddenly it seemed there were no more thrifting options in the Middle Keys. The Salvation Army store closed in Marathon; the Re-Store went “out of business” due to structural building issues on Big Pine Key. I was left bereft. Bereft, I tell you.
There was a glimmer of hope when Cristina’s consignment opened, followed by St. Columba’s Nearly New Shop in Gulfside Village, but both feature mainly clothing, and that’s not my brand of thrift crack.
Well, I got my fix this weekend. On Friday, I dropped by the Middle Keys’ Habitat for Humanity space in front of the Blue Green Hammock resort on the west end of Marathon. While not a typical Re-store, it does have pop up sales every Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
As soon as I walked in the door, I spotted a (looked like) brand new leather or pleather recliner. My gait faltered. Immediately, I ran through the list of questions — Can I afford this recliner? (Hell, yes; it’s 100 bucks.) Do I need it? (Well …) Do I have a place to put it? (Ummm …) Will I regret it if I DON’T buy it? (Yes. Well, probably.) In the end, the Habitat store didn’t have EXACTLY what I was looking for but believe you me, I know what I’m doing for lunch on Fridays for the foreseeable future. (Also, see sidebar about the big sale this weekend.)
Those questions running through my mind? Well, I got an outside perspective of what that looks like the very next morning, on Saturday, when I dropped by St. Columba’s Nearly New Furniture Store, located on Overseas Highway near Sadowski Causeway and formerly home to a dive shop. You see, a brand new leather couch had just come in. There was a lady perched on the edge for at least a half hour. I knew EXACTLY what was going through her head. She was justifying the need for this beautiful couch at a bargain-basement price. Me, I settled for an adorable antique parlor chair in need of a seat re-do and a large mirror with a beveled edge — $25 total.
Like the Habitat furniture sales retail, the Nearly New Thrift Furniture shop is open only a few days a week. (See sidebar.)
Both spaces feature really quality pieces — whether it’s a Jenn-Air downdraft cooktop or a really nice piece of furniture.
“Someone donated a $2,000 dresser that came from a house over by Sombrero Beach,” said Habitat’s David May, construction manager. “I hope the community will think of us when they are remodeling. The money that we raise from the sales helps us with the overall Habitat mission.”
“The store helps us raise money for St. Columba’s charities. It’s really a needed service,” said Cynthia Johnston, a volunteer at the Nearly New Furniture Shop. “I have a real job, but I get to play here at least once a week.”
Both operations “vet” the goods before they ever come through the door. Those who wish to donate are encouraged to call in or email a photo of the goods. The emphasis, though, is on quality and re-sale speed.
St. Columba’s Nearly New Furniture Store
12565 Overseas Highway, Marathon
HOURS: Open Thursday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
POLICY: Will hold items for 30 minutes; nominal fee for delivery
PAYMENT: Cash or check
CONTACT: [email protected]
Habitat for Humanity Middle Keys Pop-Up Store
1700 Overseas Highway, Marathon
HOURS: Friday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
POLICY: Hold with deposit; nominal fee for delivery
PAYMENT: Cash, check or credit card
CONTACT: [email protected]
SPECIAL SALE: This weekend only — Friday, April 19 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and Saturday, April 19, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.