Thrift Story Recycling

Apr 15, 2017 | 2017 Articles, Diana Hockley, Going Green, Hometown History, Reedley News

by Diana Bulls

This is one of many Earth Day related articles up in this issue! You can check out all of our going green articles here.

So, Lorie, our esteemed editor and publisher, and I were discussing possible subjects for an article relating to Earth Day, April 22. I guess I am about as “green” as most people. I recycle paper, aluminum and plastic. We went solar two years ago. Last summer we replaced our front lawn with pavers, drought-tolerant native plants and bark. But I was drawing a complete blank as far as something to write about. Of course Lorie had an idea ? that’s why she is our editor and publisher ? write something about our local thrift stores. Brilliant!


Sample of items for sale: 1950s ads from Second Chance; Organdy dishes from La Mission; 1940s aluminum tray from Nearly New

Second-hand stores, thrift stores, flea markets, whatever you want to call them, were the original recycling centers. They have been around for quite a while and since the “Great Repression” era, shopping there makes a lot of sense. Besides, you can feel really good about being environmentally responsible since purchasing second-hand means less goes into a landfill. You also have bragging rights when you make the perfect score.

Reedley has six thrift stores, and on a recent Tuesday afternoon I visited four of them. I really meant to get to ALL six, but by the time I left store #4, the other two were closing. You see I sort of forgot I was supposed to be writing an article and got caught up in shopping. More about that later.

The Nearly New Shop has been around for 40 years, according to manager Carol Peters. It is part of the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) thrift shop network and supports relief, development and peace efforts around the world. Located at 1022 G Street, the shop is brightly lit and well organized. The staff, all volunteers, are friendly and helpful.


Nearly New 1930s dining room table/chairs

Streetlight Thrift is located right next door at 1024 G Street. Streetlight is a community ministry that was organized in 1982, and provides an outlet for affordable clothes and household items. A satellite store, Streetlight Kids, opened last December on 10th Street. Both stores are staffed by volunteers. There is quite a bit of merchandise crowded into this small store, so you need to take your time when hunting for bargains. Olga Ediger is the manager for Streetlight Thrift.

Second Chance Thrift Store takes up the former storefront that housed Reedley Hardware, the corner of G and 12th streets. Owned by Rito and Esther Rubio of Reedley, it has been open about ten years. This store has good lighting and nice, wide aisles. Seasonal items are prominently displayed in the front of the store or just outside on the sidewalk. Second Chance also sells and repairs appliances.


Second Chance 1930s dining room table/chairs

Iglesia Apostolica opened La Mission Thrift Store about four years ago. The store is located on the old J.C. Penney’s block at 1612 11th Street. Pastor Rodolfo Solis and Brother John were minding the store when I dropped in. Pastor Rodolfo told me that the store has been a blessing to the church’s ministry and outreach. Music was playing in the background, and La Mission looks more like a specialty shop than a thrift store with its acrylic display cases and shelves.


La Mission; Pastor Rudolfo (inset)

There are two other thrift shops that have opened in the last year. Lost Treasures is located in the former Elks Lodge on the corner of 10th and F streets. The Penny Pincher is at 1255 E. Manning, right next to Big Lots.

I found “collectibles” in all four of the shops I visited, ranging from furniture to glassware and all things in between. Interestingly, both Second Chance and Nearly New had a 1930s dining room table with six chairs for sale. The finish and upholstery of the set at Second Chance was in better shape, but the set at Nearly New was half-price the day I was there. Second Chance also had some great trunks and foot lockers, and an oak school desk.

At La Mission I spotted eight pieces of Vernonware in the brown and yellow Organdy pattern for $2.00 ? a steal! At Second Chance there were five Homer Laughton square dessert plates with a dogwood pattern (c. 1930s-40s) for $4.95 each, and a nice hand painted dish that was made in Japan (c. 1930). I unearthed a smallish 1940s aluminum serving tray at Nearly New. Second Chance had two cardboard soda ads (c. 1940s-50s) for $2.00 each.

Maybe the best find was an embossed “Moriage” dragon design tea pot with six cups and saucers, made in Occupied Japan, at Streetlight. Missing were the cream and sugar bowl, but the group included a miniature cup and saucer in the same design. Now how did that end up at Streetlight?


Streetlight 1940s dragon tea set

I’m always curious as to how some things end up in a thrift store, especially old family photos or war medals. Cynthia, who was taking care of the front of the store at Second Chance, told me about a purple heart medal she once sold and she still wonders who it might have belonged to.

Yes, I did buy something. Although I was tempted by the two soda ads, I didn’t take them home. They are still sitting on the front counter. What I did get was a vintage Japanese, red lacquer bowl inlaid with mother of pearl. Did I need it? Probably not, but it is now sitting in the center of my dining room table.


Red lacquer-ware bowl from Nearly New (and Emily)

It makes a great cat bed.

Diana Bulls is an ongoing contributor to our
Hometown History section, having collected vintage kitchen utensils for over 40 years; she is also actively involved with the Reedley Historical Society.


  1. I admit I am a thrifting addict. If I really have no money to spend I can go into these shops and play games like find the ugliest item in the store, or most unusual, oddest.
    Or how many ways can I think to use or repurpose an item.
    There are also certain books found in EVERY thrift store.
    Look for In The Kitchen with Rosie or What To Expect While Expecting.
    I guarantee you will find people to chat with.
    These are also great places to people watch (not in a creepy way.)

    This year I am creating my garden with thrift store finds.

  2. Loved the article! Does the Trading Post no longer have used items? I know they used to but I have not been in there for years.


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