Thursday, December 12, 2013

St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store Review

Over the next little while I'll be reviewing the five main thrift store chains in Ontario: Value Village, Bibles for Missions, Salvation Army, Goodwill and St. Vincent de Paul. They each have benefits and downfalls, pros and cons. Each chain will be rated on the following:

Price range: ($$$, $$, $)
Selection: (1-5 Asteroids)
Quality: (1-5 Asteroids)
Stock Turnaround: (1-5 Asteroids)
Hours: (1-5 Asteroids)
Store Presentation: (1-5 Asteroids)


(St. Vincent de Paul - Chatham, ON)

St. Vincent de Paul is the smallest of thrift stores I'll be reviewing. It's a Catholic organization whose mission is: "To live the Gospel message by serving Christ in the poor with love, respect, justice and joy." The Saint Vincent de Paul Thrift Stores are an extension of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, an organization that is involved in running soup kitchens, outreach programs, food banks, programs for the mentally challenged and more. They're very much involved in the community.

As a thrift store, however, I generally find that they are lacking. The stores are frequently, if not always, dirty. I often find that walking into the store is like walking through "the bad part of town". The quality of the chain does vary a tiny bit from store to store, but I've only ever found one store that surpassed expectations, and that is in the teeny tiny town Elliot Lake, Ontario.

The selection of items is often sub par as the stores are generally very small. They don't frequently get in great items, but if they ever do, you can at least count on the prices; St. Vincents redeeming quality is that the prices are generally amazing. Probably some of the lowest prices you'll ever see at a thrift store.

When doing my "thrifting rounds", I often skip St. Vincents, but perhaps not for the reasons I've listed above. St. Vincents hours are not great. In fact, they're pretty sucky overall. I don't often have a lot of time to go out and about thrifting, so fitting in St. Vincents hours kind of screws with my plans. They aren't open on weekends AT ALL (90% of locations) and when they ARE open, it's generally for about 6 hours. I've even tried going near the end of the day, when they are supposed to be open - only to have had them close early before we got there.

Another redeeming aspect is that they do pick up larger donations. As long as it's on your main floor as they are forbidden from moving items from the basement or top floors due to health and safety reasons (which make sense).

With so many other great thrift stores around, I just don't find St. Vincents to be worth it in the long run.

As always, however - thrift stores vary store to store. I've been to a handful of them around Ontario and this is where my experience comes from. I've heard great stories of St. Vincents in the states and you never know what you might find - it is a thrift store, after all! At the very least, give the one near you a try and see what you think. As I said earlier - I *have* been to a great one; the majority of them just don't live up to it.

St. Vincent de Paul Ratings:

Price range: $
Selection: 1 Asteroid
Quality: 1 Asteroid
Stock Turnaround: 3 Asteroids
Hours: 1 Asteroid
Store Presentation: 1 Asteroid

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