Ask any one of the hundreds of Teva-wearing Subaru drivers in Salt Lake County what their favorite thrift store is and you’ll hear a lot of Pib’s, Vantage, iconoCLAD, and maybe Savers or D.I. There are quite a few thrift store gems in Salt Lake County — but increasing in popularity is a local shop in West Valley City that’s doing business a bit differently from the rest.
Started in March 2018, Green World Thrift Market is a welcoming and unassuming place always full of high-quality secondhand finds. The shop offers cool vintage clothes and accessories just like Pib’s or Vantage do, but at prices that let me visit much more frequently.
Why Buy Secondhand?
Thrifting gives shoppers that classic rush of dopamine and adrenaline — but you get to relish in your cost-effective purchases knowing that you didn’t contribute to wasteful consumerism or the global human rights crisis of fast-fashion. But I’ll step off my high horse and admit: the main reason why I love thrift shopping so much is that I have no coherent sense of personal style. Since I have no clue what I’m going for with what I wear, it’s exciting and it takes a lot of pressure off of me to let random thrifted finds dictate my wardrobe’s fate.
But the pandemic has kept many therapeutic hobbies, including thrift shopping, on the back burner for over a full year now. “We had to close for 2 months in March and April of 2020 which was very challenging for us,” explained Chelcia Thomas, owner and director of Green World Thrift Market. “But we were able to recover because our sales and a general interest in thrift stores have been surprisingly better than the previous years. We have noticed that thrifting is increasing in popularity and more and more people are letting go of the stigma that used to be associated with thrifting,” she said.
Instagram Story Sales
Since many of us are craving a good thrifting but feel wary of going shopping just for the fun of it during a pandemic, Green World lets customers shop from the safety of their own social media feeds.
“Doing Instagram Story Sales consistently has been something our customers look forward to,” Thomas said. “We realized that not everyone has the time or patience to thrift and the pandemic has also made people more fearful to go out. We have had so much fun seeing the amazing things in our shop and always want to share it with everyone, and even better when on a model so you can see the fit,” she said.
If I fall in love with an item after seeing what it looks like on a model, I can pay Thomas over Venmo to claim it, then swing by the shop to quickly pick it up or have it mailed to me. Several stellar vintage shirts in my closet right now came from keeping a close eye on these recurring Instagram story sales.
Building a Sustainable Local Economy
There is no specific “look” to living more sustainably or being more mindful of where your money goes, and the people of Green World Thrift Market are clearly excited about this.
The shop is constantly accepting diverse donations, donating unsold items to non-profits, and partnering with student groups like Fashion In Business U of U (@fibuofu on Instagram) to collaborate on sustainable photo shoots. “It makes us so happy to see that people are truly becoming more compassionate and mindful with their purchases… We also feel that we uniquely connect to the younger generation who is passionate about saving our planet and being a part of the movement for sustainable fashion,” Thomas said.
One upcycled item of clothing means one less item of clothing in a landfill — and it means considerably less natural resources used or human labor exploited to craft a new one and get it to you. Of course, thrift shops aren’t an end-all-be-all retail replacement for everyone. But before I log onto ASOS or plan a trip to City Creek, I like to first check out much more sustainable and community-minded businesses like Green World Thrift Market.
To stay updated with the shop, follow them on Instagram. Plus, starting on Earth Day — April 22, 2021 — you can check out weekly drops of clothing, jewelry, books and home decor on their website. “We are also always looking to collaborate with other projects and organizations who align with our mission which is to spread compassion and kindness,” Thomas said. “Anyone interested can email [email protected].”