Perhaps you know of Habitat for Humanity as a nonprofit organization that helps people in need to build or renovate homes that it then sells to them at an affordable rate, using all mortgage payments to fund future building efforts. And when you think about a Habitat for Humanity thrift store, you may picture used building implements being sold to people seeking to update and improve their homes. While Habitat for Humanity does have a home improvement outlet in the Denver area, the Flatirons Habitat for Humanity Thrift Store (6900 West 117th Avenue in Broomfield) is actually a typical thrift store that sells used (and sometimes new with tags) clothing, accessories, housewares, fabric, craft supplies and electronics at delightfully affordable prices.
I chose the Flatirons Habitat Thrift Store as the site of my first installment of “You Should Thrift Here” (where I will profile local thrift stores and discuss the causes they support and the selection that they have available and, ideally, find a customer willing to allow me to style them in goods found only at that store) because I was surprised to learn, after contacting manager Erik Brack, that the store actually has a considerable clothing section. It occurred to me that other thrifters may also have assumed that a Habitat for Humanity Thrift Store would have nothing in the way of sartorial delights and passed up an excellent opportunity to shop for quality new and used clothing while helping a very good cause.
Before I tell you more about the store, itself, I must warn you not to make the same mistake that I made upon walking into Flatirons Habitat Thrift. Do not look at the small cluster of racks marked “Boutique,” assume that that is the sum total of their clothing section, and feel a wave of disappointment wash over you. Instead, make your way to the left side of the store and head upstairs. There, like a placid ocean, brimming with undiscovered treasures, is the clothing section.
I was quite impressed by the selection of shoes and purses, priced at just $2.50, and the large and very cute selection of belts for just $1.25. As I made my way through the clothing (all of it just $2.50 unless otherwise marked) I met Lydia, 31, a communications consultant on the hunt for tank tops and skirts, who gamely agreed to allow me to style her.
Lydia explained to me that her usual style is “pretty casual.” The first few pieces that I chose for her, while cute and seriously affordable, simply did not suit her. When I found a sparkly bronze H&M dress that looked great on her, and accented it with a white purse and white shoes, I began to feel very encouraged and I really hit pay dirt when I put her in a floor length black dress with first, a wide, yellow leather belt and then a skinny gold coin belt and little gold shoes. She looked stunning! In the yellow belt, she looked ready for drinks on the town with her girls; in the second, she looked ready for a nice dinner with her guy. Imagine my excitement when she decided to buy that black dress— although she was a bit worried about not having anywhere to wear it. That’s when I told her that when I find a fabulous piece at the thrift, and I’m not sure where to wear it, I make an occasion up. New (or new old) dresses are always a good excuse to throw a party! Besides, buyer’s remorse is so much easier to live with when you spend $2.50 instead of $250.
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Before leaving, I chatted with Erik, the manager, who took me on a brief tour behind the scenes, where I saw hundreds of black garbage bags full of clothing. Erik informed me that their store has an exclusive deal with the dorms at the University of Colorado at Boulder that allows them to pick up all of the usable goods that students choose to donate rather than throw away at the end of every semester. This year alone they collected thousands of pounds of clothing from CU’s campus and they still have huge amounts left to sort through. All of those piles of clothing still sitting in the back mean that there will be new, incredibly priced pieces for Flatiron’s customer to sort through for a very long time.
In the end, it turned out that Flatirons Habitat for Humanity Thrift Store was a great place for me to choose as my first installment of “You Should Thrift Here.” The staff was friendly and helpful, the selection was good and affordably priced, and the huge behind the scenes stash of clothing and accessories insures that it will be a great thrifting location for a very long time. So, do yourself and Habitat for Humanity a favor and check it out soon. Seriously, you should thrift there!
-- TaRosa Jacobs