From the exterior of its humble headquarters on Garland Road, White Rock Center of Hope might not appear to be an enterprise on the cutting edge of conscientious consumerism and fashion trends.
But doors under that generic-looking “Thrift Shop” signage lead to an impressive operation.
Neatly distributed rows of clothing, a curated selection of furniture and accessories and a front-and-center “boutique” area stocked with higher-end inventory meet a shopper’s eye, which might land on a set of silver, studded, six-inch platform Gianni Bini heels or something equally splendid.
“We’ve been doing a lot to try to refresh our merchandising and marketing, to make sure the store is welcoming,” Executive Director Greg Smith says. “We always have fresh sales. You’ll see our floors have been cleaned, and they’re nice and sparkly.”
The staff says that if they don’t have what you need, or want, today, chances are they will have it next week. “We have a lot of churn, which is great,” Smith says.
Dallas is a good place in general for thrifting, according to a 2022 study by the research team at Lawn Love. Our city ranks No. 12 on their list of 200, coming in just behind a few other Texas metros — Houston, San Antonio and Austin. That’s based on the number of secondhand retailers and an analysis of thrift- and consignment-related Google searches in the area.
June Park, a professor at Oklahoma State University’s Department of Design, Housing and Merchandising, commenting on the study, explains the benefits of shopping for used items.
“Needless to say, it is good for the environment as you are closing the loop by reusing material goods,” she says. “It is also a good way to support your community because many thrift stores are locally based, small businesses, and a sizable portion of their earnings goes to charity.”
In 2021, secondhand clothing purchases displaced about one billion purchases of new clothing, according to the report, which is important, because, according to the research, while some new apparel is sourced from sustainable, or even recycled, resources, the fashion industry is still one of the most polluting, due to fast fashion, in which companies make clothing cheaply and speedily to keep up with trends.
“Unfortunately, these clothes aren’t made to last and quickly end up in landfills,” note the study’s authors.
The thrift store at White Rock Center of Hope supports programs that assist families from ZIP codes 75238, 75218, 75214, 75228 and 75223.
Donations come in through the west side of the building, behind the retail store, where volunteers accept items Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Aside from old-school electronics and items that “have been loved so much they have nothing left to give,” Smith says they will accept almost anything.
The 16,000-square-foot building includes ample space for volunteers to sort, count and organize those contributions.
Some will go to “clothing closet,” in an adjacent area, where enrolled families can choose outfits free of charge four times a year. The center distributes some 81,000 such items each year and also shares with other local charities, Smith says.
The foundation uses funds from the shop to purchase new socks and underwear (so clothing closet clients take home complete outfits), it partners with North Texas Food Bank for its grocery pantry, it and provides a number of additional resources.
“Almost all of the labor at the thrift shop is volunteer,” Smith says. “That means every dollar at the store is benefitting people in the neighborhood.”
Since Smith joined the foundation 18 months ago, he has focused on expanding programming.
“Once people are stabilized, oftentimes they still need some help to figure out how to not need to come back again,” Smith says.
He points to a room that has been cleared to make way for a classroom where he says volunteers and social workers will teach useful skills such as financial literacy.
White Rock Center of Hope checks all the feel-good-shopping boxes, but it is not the only place in the neighborhood for resale, vintage and other second hand treasure.
A few other nearby stores where conscientious shoppers can pop some tags.
Y2K-era trucker hats and low-rise jeans for trendy Gen Zs, an assortment of sunglasses and bags for Mom and Dad — there might be something here for everyone in the family, but it mostly appeals to tweens, teens and 20-somethings.
Plato’s Closet, which relocated from Medallion Center about 10 years ago, is pricier than the typical thrift store. Clothing is intentionally priced, meaning a T from The Gap is going to be cheap, while designer jeans might be $20 or more, which is still significantly more affordable than buying new.
Gently used clothing can be resold to Plato’s. But it’s not the place to unload that unwanted, unsorted bag of threads. Always call ahead, 214.342.2204, to see what they are taking — generally, on-trend, name-brand clothing, shoes and purses in good condition. According to Plato’s Closet marketing, making one pair of jeans uses 2,000 gallons of water, one reason to consider buying denim secondhand.
Patient perusers are often rewarded with fab finds, but they might have to work for them. Rows of clothing options for men women and children, plus luggage, hats, sunglasses, shoes, partially spent bottles of perfume, belts, ties, shoes, linens, minor furniture and kitchen and household items — there is a ton of inventory, but shoppers say it’s well organized and clean.
Fahra Mitchell of Lochwood, who frequents the Northwest Highway reseller, recommends going once a month or so.
“I do find that if I go too often, I hardly get anything, which would indicate that they don’t have a good turnover compared to some other stores.” she says.
Before you go, check for coupons on sites such as fivestars.com, where Super Thrift sometimes posts “5% off your entire purchase” (or similar) deals.
Super Thrift is open daily 9 a.m.-9 p.m., and they accept clothing donations during those hours. Please don’t bring mattresses or large furniture, says one staffer reached by phone. Just come to the cashier or call ahead and someone will come to your car and help you.
On the third floor of NorthPark Center, FASHIONPHILE offers an ultra-luxurious resale experience for snappy shoppers.
Authenticity is guaranteed thanks to a rigorous screening process, and personal shoppers are available to help customers find their bespoke “preloved” Birkin bag or Cartier bracelet. (According to promotional materials, buying those items secondhand saves 914.8 pounds of carbon dioxide and 2,040 gallons of water or 1,455 pounds of carbon and 654 gallons of water, respectively.)
For example, a Louis Vuitton Epi leather purse that retails at more than $2,100 costs about $1,200 at FASHIONPHILE. And when you are ready to trade that in for a fresher look, FASHIONPHILE will buy back most accessories at a percentage of the purchase price, up to 75%, provided it is still in good shape. Drop in or visit the website fashionphile.com for details on selling or to shop the current stock.
9310 Forest Lane
This consignment store specializing in bridal and formal wear stocks both new and lovingly used gowns from designer names including Jovani, Maggie Sottero and Justin Alexander as well as veils, hair jewels or other accessories for the bride and her party. Find prom dresses and frocks for other formal occasions too.
Anonymously Yours also carries closeout and sample gowns, often brand new, and offers them at used prices, says shop owner Rene Bankston.
For those who wish to consign items, she accepts articles ranging from casual to matrimonial in sizes 0-44. Quick-moving items include fine jewelry in nine to 24 karat gold, sterling silver and designer purses. Consignments are accepted weekdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and require a minimum of eight acceptable current style items. Call 214.341.4618 to schedule an appointment.