Think of them as permanent garage sales. You have to visit two or three locations to find your treasure, but when you do, it costs a quarter. Thrift stores are gaining ground as fashionable shopping options, branching out to new bargain seekers who previously shunned resale stores. But with nearly 25 thrift stores on the Peninsula alone, digging through the goods is a daunting task. To help, we have rated each of the thrift stores in Hampton, Newport News, Poquoson, Williamsburg and Yorktown. You'll find our Top 5 thrift store picks right here, and you can go to dailypress.com/thrift to see how the store closest to your home fared in our ratings.
222 Dare Road, 898-8688
Hours: 1-4:30 p.m. Monday, 10 a.m. -- 2 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday
Organization: **** (out of five)
Cl eanliness: ****
This five-room store gives you the feeling that you're meandering through an antiques mall, with piles of glassware, dishes and knickknacks shelved in every nook and cranny. The clothing selection is particularly good, with a full room for both men's and women's clothing. Women will want to check out the shoe rack, which is organized by color, and men can find sports coats in every size, style and color for as little as $10. Kids' clothing is a bit sparse compared to other local thrift shops, but there is a large selection of toys (most of which need a thorough cleaning) and children's books.
It's a bustling thrift shop, and one of the only ones in its area - the key to finding a shop with a good selection. Even on a weekday, you're sure to find a full parking lot and a dozen shoppers wandering through racks of clothing.
PARISH THRIFT STORE
487 Wythe Creek Road, 868-0357
Hours: 10 a.m. -- 5 p.m. Tuesday-Wednesday, Friday-Saturday; 10 a.m. -- 8 p.m. Thursday
Organization: ***** (out of five)
An airy, clean store, this shop's atmosphere is the closest to an actual retail store. Although there are only a few racks of clothing, nearly a third of the pieces still have their original tags, and most of the goods look close to new. The appliance section is notable for its up-to-date selection and good pricing (stock includes several espresso machines, toaster ovens, microwaves and bread makers, among other items, for $6-$10). The store also has provided a test outlet, where you can plug in and test equipment before you purchase it. With 11 computer monitors, several VCR players and a range of audio equipment, check here before you go to Best Buy.
DISABLED AMERICAN VETERANS THRIFT STORES
Hampton, Newport News, Williamsburg
15265 Warwick Blvd., Newport News, 874-7790
Hours: 9 a.m. -- 8 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 12-5 p.m. Sunday
Organization: ***** (out of five)
Of all the thrift store chains, Disabled American Veterans (DAV) stores seems to attract the best selection. They're also the most organized, hanging clothing by size and neatly displaying home decor items by style and function. The Denbigh store in Newport News has a wide array of goods in every category, including a "boutique" clothing section that focuses on formal wear. Be sure to look upward in this store, which hangs its many painting donations on the walls above the shelves. And check out the merchandise behind the checkout counter. It tends to be more valuable and in premium condition - a method used in all DAV stores.
2165 Cunningham Drive, 380-8504
Hours: 9 a.m. -- 8 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m. -- 6 p.m. Sunday
Organization: **** (out of five)
This light and airy store is clean, well-organized and has an unprecedented six department-store-like fitting rooms where you can try before you buy. Clothing is separated by type and color coded, a helpful sifting tool. The store also has a large section of children's clothing and accessories and a wall of neatly organized books and DVDs. Merchandise changes daily, so while this week might have been light on fabulous furniture finds, that doesn't mean that next week you won't find the deal of the century.
YOUTH CHALLENGE THRIFT STORE
7304 Warwick Blvd., 247-6377
Hours: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday
Organization: *** (out of five)
It's not much to look at when you're driving by, but the Youth Challenge Thrift Store will surprise you with its massive selection of furniture, housewares and books. Skip the inside store if you don't have much time; it's the attached warehouse that inspires shoppers' awe. Couches, entertainment centers, tables, chairs, desks, dishwashers, lamps and mattresses fill the humongous warehouse. Then, turn the corner, and you see rows of metal shelves packed with dishes and knickknacks, only to come upon a flight of stairs that leads you to hundreds of books. Goods are priced to move (dishwashers are $30-$40, for example), but most of them need a good scrubbing.
* Children's clothing. Little Blessings, 28 Harpersville Road, Newport News. This store has items only for children and mothers-to-be. The ministry that operates the shop has a voucher system to help people in dire circumstances get the essentials.
* Home repair/decor. Habitat ReStore, 9614 Warwick Blvd., Newport News. Flexibility is the name of the game at this store. You have to grab what you see when you see it and check back often for not-to-miss deals on paint, windows, flooring, lighting and plumbing supplies.
* Hybrid stores. The Fort Monroe Thrift Shop and Fort Eustis Consignment Shop are a mix between a thrift store and a consignment shop. Both have a good selection of housewares and kids' items.
See a full description and rating of these stores at dailypress.com/thrift
* "One of my favorites is the Newport News Goodwill off Jefferson, behind Hooters. The clothing and store is clean and nicely displayed by clothing color and type. They have 50 percent tag sales each week, and the manager is always on site to offer great customer service," Noreen Smith, Newport News
* "I love the DAV thrift store in Denbigh. They have great finds and really low prices. The one in Hampton, too, for that matter!" Amanda Bartley, Newport News
* "I've always been happy with the way CHKD (Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters Thrift Store) picks up my stuff and handles it with care. If I have anything, I always call them," Barbara Hinson, Newport News
* "The best thrift shop I go to is the Fort Eustis thrift shop. I have found some good deals there. Next would be the DAV in Smithfield," Melissa Henegar, Zuni
Daily Press staffers Karen Morgan and Lapraya McCoy contributed to this report.
ONLINE EXTRA: Find a thrift store near you and see how it scored on our rating system at dailypress.com/thriftCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun