Cover Story

Get Thrifting About Shopping

Where to shop for the best in thrift and consignment goods in the East Bay


Everyone knows the most anticipated part of Antiques Roadshow is when the expert appraiser finally wraps up the history lesson and reveals the value of the family heirloom or garage sale bargain. While the oddities uncovered in granny’s attic rarely ends up to be worth a fortune, most folks who love a gently-used treasure say the thrill is in the hunt. Whether searching for that French country console, funky Fiestaware or designer duds at a fraction of the retail price, you’re sure to uncover some extraordinary finds in our little neck of the woods.

Consignment and Vintage Clothing

For the Fashionable Kid
The harsh reality of having well-dressed kids is that there’s a good chance your little bean may very possibly wear that angelically smocked, immaculately embroidered ensemble once. It’s not on purpose. There are a million reasons this happens, but shopping at Luca Boutique takes the guilt away (mommy guilt, however, remains forever) as you’ll pay a fraction of regular retail prices for fine children’s clothing, maternity wear and adorable accessories. A bona fide “children’s couture consignment” shop, (think: Burberry, Ralph Lauren, Joules, Mini Boden, Lilly Pulitzer, Crewcuts…), the Luca team is spot on when they say they have you covered “from the first kick to kindergarten and beyond.” 193 Warren Street, Warren. 401-289-2251,

The Church of Consignment
Do some people just go to church for the aprés-worship pancake breakfast? Far be it from us to say for sure, but if one applied the same ethos to get to Encore Consignment Boutique at St. John’s Episcopal Church, we simply wouldn’t judge. A staple on the church campus for more than four decades, Encore (a.k.a. “The Sacred Sisterhood of the Cellar”) might just be a Barrington lady-who-lunches best kept secret. Vera Bradley, Lilly Pulitzer, Ann Taylor, Talbots and more designer duds line the stuffed racks, plus shoes, handbags and some children’s clothing. The hours are few and tricky but the (literally) bargain basement prices make it worth the hunt. Plus, monies raised at Encore fund the church’s outreach projects, so shopping there is totally a good deed. 191 County Road, Barrington. 401-245-7380,

From Tots to Teens
A consummate community-loved children’s consignment shop for nearly 20 years, Just Ducky Consignments brings Lilly Pulitzer, Hollister, The North Face, Lucky Brand, Land’s End, Ralph Lauren and more to bargain hunters (in between standard Gap, Gymboree, Janie and Jack, Carter’s, etc. pieces). There are also coveted kid’s specialty lines like Lili Cactus, Pink Chicken, BOGS, Zara Kids, Kelly Hart and more. You can also find unique European lines here like Oilily, Catimini, Dué Per Dué and Petit Patapon. Covering the clothing and accessory needs for tiny tikes to teens, you’ll also find shoes, quality toys (think: Melissa & Doug, Oompa, etc.), designer diaper bags, essential baby gear, his and her tiny Patriots gear and irresistible teeny tiny things that will having you cooing on demand. Follow their Facebook page to get the up-to-date scoop (and first look) of new arrivals – including Halloween costumes! 34B Gooding Avenue, Bristol. 401-253-6335.

A Curated Collection
You got to have a little moxie with a name like Roxie, and Roxie’s Consignment Boutique delivers. Like many places in Bristol with decades of history, the space is relatively cozy, which means pieces are carefully considered by Roxie before hitting the sales floor. The shop windows on the corner of High and Church Streets turn heads with colorful clothing, coveted handbags and awesome accessories. The shop may be best known for its collection of dresses ranging from casual and cocktail styles to elegant evening wear. Calvin Klein, Ann Taylor, J Crew, Free People, White House Black Market – it’s like shopping a curated collection from the mall without the hassle. 217 High Street, Bristol. 401-253-4020.

Never in Moderation
When Carrie Bradshaw talked about Saks, this wasn’t the one. But Carrie would appreciate Sak’s Consignment’s mantra, “it’s all in the find.” With an abundance of looks throughout the store merchandised from head to toe – including jewelry, handbags and accessories, Sak’s takes the guesswork (and the high price tags) out of creating a new-to-you seasonal wardrobe. Here you’ll find everything from workout gear, looks for the golf course, things that bling for a night on the town, formal wear, casual duds, business threads and everything in-between. Their customer? Appealing, as they say, “to men and women 14 to 90.” But their true specialty is in designer handbags. Brands like Prada, Dooney & Bourke, Coach, Michael Kors, Brahmin and more can be found and all are checked top to bottom to make sure they’re the real deal (no designer imposters here!). Though slightly unassuming in a dated building on Swansea Mall Drive, the prices and selection make it worth seeking out. 147 Swansea Mall Drive Unit 4, Swansea. 508-730-2211.

Vintage Finds
Located in a brand new storefront on legendary Thames Street, Vintage to Vogue is looking right at home with upscale, boutique-styled windows. Owner Shana Gaines says the name of the shop is apropos as she had an exclusively vintage shop but it has evolved into stocking more modern pieces as well. The common denominator is designer names: Yves Saint Laurent, St. John, Chanel, Christian Dior (and because it’s Newport, the Lilly Pulitzer does especially well). They also are known for a spectrum of hats including contemporary oversized “derby” hats, fascinators, ‘40s-era pill boxes and ‘50s-era cloches, and for the stylish gentleman, accessories including cufflinks, suspenders and bow ties. There’s one oft-vintage find you won’t find here though: furs. Refreshingly, the shop no longer carries furs of any kind and for that we give them two paws up. 489 Thames Street, Newport, 401-855-2443.

For Every Season
Being just a few miles from Newport, it’s no surprise that Corner Consignment carries preppy clothing, bags and accessories for mostly women and children from the likes of J. Crew, Polo, Trina Turk, Tory Burch, J. McLaughlin, Angela Moore and Banana Republic, but they are about much more than pearls, popped collars and pretty pastels. You’ll find treasures from universally adored high end lines including Escada, St. John and Diane von Furstenburg. Corner Consignment at the Old Almy Village also conveniently keeps the sales floor stocked with in-season pieces, so right now you’re bound to find light sweaters and quilted coats while the winter wardrobe of heavy woolen pieces, down jackets and boots (say it ain’t so!) isn’t too far off in the distance. 980 E Main Road, Portsmouth. 401-683-1771.

On the Spot Deals
So here’s the benefit of being a resale retail chain offering pre-owned children’s clothing, quality toys, books, baby gear and furniture: brand recognition. With Children’s Orchard locations nationwide, shoppers – and consignors – know exactly what to expect. As a consignor, the shop is especially awesome as Lori Clegg, the owner of the Seekonk location, or someone from her team will go through your gently used kids items (with an appointment), select the pieces they know will sell to their loyal customer base, and unlike other consignment shops, will pay you on the spot for the lot. No waiting three months or longer to collect a little pocket change. Brands here include Britax, Baby Bjorn, Playskool, Baby Einstein, Baby Jogger, Ralph Lauren, Nordstrom Baby and more.
20 Commerce Way, Seekonk. 508-336-7757,

Consignment Furniture and Antiques

Treasured Home Décor
It’s not easy moving a business, especially when moving into a Chinese restaurant. Okay, a space that was a Chinese restaurant. But that’s exactly what Alfred Brazil did with Alfred’s Consignments when he left Barrington for a busier locale in nearby Warren in late 2012, taking with him consignment treasures for the home including furniture, china and serving dishes, glassware, silver and art, plus jewelry, seasonal finds and more. Trying to find those last few pieces to complete your inherited-from-nana vintage Franciscan Apple dinner plate set? Replacement Fiestaware for the dishes you’ve dropped through the years? Start your search here. From mid-century modern pieces to casual wicker furniture, the ever-changing inventory is often updated on Alfred’s Facebook page. 840 Main Street, Warren. 401-245-3101,

Furnishings From Now and Then
Just say no to strip malls and just say yes to quaint country compounds like historic Cory Farms Past and Presents. Featuring a seamless blend of consigned finds and new items (hence, “past” and “presents”), it’s admittedly difficult to stay focused if you’re looking for a gift because you’ll find countless must-haves for yourself in this historic farmhouse setting. Nautical-themed home décor, scented candles, Dash & Albert rugs, awe-inspiring local art, frames, linens and fabrics, housewares, paper goods, serve-ware, decorative pillows, some jewelry and accessories, home and garden goods, antiques and more. But don’t let this little country outpost fool you. Owner Denys Eftekhar attends retailer trade shows around the world and the European influence is
evident throughout the diverse treasures. 3124 E Main Road, Portsmouth. 401-683-3124, 

Lost and Found Home Finds
Antique toys, vases, collectibles, regional specialties, china (from antique to popular Wedgwood patterns), vintage and collectible tchotchke, decades-old furniture, musical equipment, Christmas and seasonal finds, artwork and even totally random head-turners like jars of buttons... the seemingly endless square footage of the aptly named Lost Treasures Antiques Center invites you (challenges you, in fact) to find what you never knew your lost. Or what your granny lost. Or what that rich guy in the next neighborhood over lost. 1460 Fall River Avenue, Seekonk. 508-336-9294,

One Man’s Treasure
Frankly, it’d be a lot easier to tell you what you won’t find at Vinny’s Antiques, but we can’t quite come up with anything yet. Let’s start with the obscure: Boy Scouts collectibles (patches, pins, kerchiefs, handbooks), weathered fruit crates, vintage cameras, mirrors, furniture, countless vases and ceramics, country home essentials (quilts, baskets, embroidered signs, vintage tins and quite literally, old Country Home magazines), linens, instruments, glassware, tableware, books, rocking chairs, decorative mirrors… the endlessly (somewhat entertaining) selection expands over two levels with more than 200 dealers showcasing and selling their finds. 380 Fall River Avenue, Seekonk. 508-336-0800,

Repurposed and Restored with Love 
Easily the newest shop in this round-up, Tusk N Trunk just opened its doors and is already making an impression. The brainchild of Jessica Pierce, this Water Street shop features lovingly reinvented and reimagined furnishings, each stripped, sanded, painted, distressed or varnished by Pierce herself. The shop name pays homage to Pierce’s love of precious pachyderms, yet Tusk N Trunk has a decidedly French country feel with the lovingly restored furnishings (many with a distressed finish) and accoutrements like bunches of lavender, burlap wine bags, mango wood cutting boards and other “rustic-farmhouse-meets-Provence” finds. Artwork from Rhode Island native Jossy Lownes gives the space a galleryesque feel while the shop’s sign, painted by a tattoo artist, lends the space a creative edge. Simply put, expect the unexpected. 141 Water Street, Warren. 401-396-6411,

Collecting History
Nestled in the bucolic setting of Tiverton Four Corners, a quaint New England village of 18th century buildings that has emerged into a center for antiques, fine art, decorative crafts and cozy shops, Peter’s Attic Antiques (there since 1984) is a hodge podge collection from three antiques/vintage dealers and an artist. Peter Sorrentino deals in furnishings (antique and new), china, artwork, jewelry, some toys, serve-ware and more. Mick Coogan specializes in antiques and collectibles, Jeffrey Gladding’s collection of antiques and décor is out back and Sharon Rust’s micro-boutique, Artemis, offers vintage designer clothing by the likes of Diane Von Furstenberg, Ralph Lauren and Gucci. Check out the $10 Treasure Nook at Artemis for the big fish bargains. 8 Puncatest Neck Road, Tiverton. 401-625-5912.

You Get What You Want… and Need
A variety of vendors on a variety of levels means a variety of fun finds at a variety of price points at Eagles Nest Antiques. Serious collectors will gravitate toward the coveted must haves like first edition books, sports memorabilia and military items. With a space that can accommodate 100 dealers under the same roof, you’ll find tons of china, restored and refurbished furniture including Cogswell and wing-back chairs, seemingly endless lots of jewelry from every decade, lighting ranging from oil lamps to Tiffany lights, artwork, early glass, artwork, vintage lighters and pipes, cameras, albums and records, old-school kitchenware and tools – one of the Nest’s hottest sellers. 3101 E Main Road, Portsmouth. 401-683-3500,

Totally Nautical Decorating
It’s an odd discovery, this castle-like building built in 1894 on Newport’s bustling Thames Street huddled amidst the upscale boutiques and restaurants. But once inside the doors of this architecturally intriguing you’ll find more than 70 dealers in over 6,000 square feet of selling space at the Armory Antiques Marketplace. In a nod to their ‘Sailing Capital of the World’ locale, it’s said that around 3,000 of the more than 100,000 items in their inventory are nautical in nature – think weathered oars, vintage maps, signal flags and yacht club burgees, rope, ship models, brass bells and vintage navigation tools, nautical print home décor (whales, compass roses, etc.) artwork and naturally, lots and lots of anchor-themed things. You’ll find all these among vintage tennis rackets and sporting goods, furniture like farm tables and century-old chests, taxidermy, Chinese porcelain, crystal, ceramics, magazines, collectibles, jewelry and more. 365 Thames Street, Newport. 401-848-2398,

Stay Longer, Save More
Looking to furnish a room or two? A play room? A whole house? On a budget? Chairs, tables, coffee tables, couches, hope chests, throw pillows, dining room sets, kitchenware, appliances, tools décor, art – it’s all here at Second Helpings, and with a markdown schedule that discounts everything the longer it stays in-shop, there’s a lot of bang for your buck here (consigned items remain at the asking price for 90 days; after 30 days, it will be marked down 25% off initial price and after 60 days, it will be marked down 50%). Second Helpings loyalists are known to make weekly stops because new arrivals hit the floor all the time and simply the wide range of things to peruse is endless. Linens, fabric books, art (a velvet canvas never goes out of style), books, records and delightful unexpected discoveries – all at great low prices – are what make this unpretentious store a favorite. 32 Gooding Avenue, Bristol. 401-396-9600,

Antiques For the Masses
With lovely green canopies framing the maroon and mustard-hued detailed exterior of this shop, there is an expectation of upscale treasures inside – and The Drawing Room doesn’t disappoint. Owners Federico Santi and John Gacher have long been known in the City by the Sea for their well-curated selection of antiques and art ranging from fine art to sculpture and everything in between. “The Zsolnay Store” features some of the finest examples of Zsolnay art nouveau pottery in the market today. A stalwart here since 1985, Santi even pens a Q&A column in the city’s weekly newspaper, Newport This Week, from readers looking for information – and the prospective value – of old family treasures or discoveries. Antique glass, gothic antiques, various objets d’art and a comprehensive postcard collection featuring some pieces dating back to the 19th century all enhance the experience of this must-see shop for the in-the-know collector. 152 Spring Street, Newport. 401-841-5060,