Just beyond the Grinnell College bubble are some safe havens for the thrifter hidden in every student. Second Mile and Goodwill are the two best-known and most frequented by members of the college community.
Second Mile is completely locally run and located on the corner of 3rd and Pearl Street. Goodwill is part of a larger chain of second hand stores and is located on the corner of West Street and Hamilton Street. Second Mile is closer; Goodwill is just a little farther from campus, although also color coordinated for your convenience.
“Second Mile is my favorite thrift shop out of all thrift shops in town,” Samanea Karrfalt ’14 said. “It consistently has the best prices, although it recently became more expensive in the fact that things are now four dollars when they were originally two dollars. I love it when they have 25 cent or 50 cent day and you can go there and get a garbage bag full of awesome stuff for next to nothing.”
Second Mile is divided into two sections: children’s clothes and miscellaneous house things in the main section, and adult clothes in the next room. Somewhere between a 90’s jumper and a lime-green sweat suit are some great finds. The sweater selection is everything that it needs to be—big, warm and decorated with everything from American flags to snowflakes to curious kittens. Dresses can really be a hit or miss section, but when you hit, you hit pretty big.
Goodwill also boasts some hidden gems.
“I’ve been able to find some cool designer-y stuff in Goodwill. And I always find nice shoes at Goodwill, like not-worn leather shoes, which is nice,” Karrfalt said.
Goodwill is just a little larger than Second Mile in their clothing department. Instead of the different clothing being divided by size, Goodwill has divided all of its pants, shirts, sweaters, dresses and sportswear by color.
“I definitely go to Second Mile over Goodwill because Second Mile is an entirely local organization. And although Goodwill does do really great things for the community, it is a kind of chain of stuff. When I can I like to stay as local as possible. Also, the women who work [at Second Mile] are great. A lot of the volunteers are older members of the local churches, and so it’s really cool to know they get to work and have things that they need taken care of. They give back to the community and it’s nonprofit, so all of the proceeds go directly to the church,” Karrfalt said, “Every time I go to Second Mile I find something awesome, and there are often some awesome sales.”
Workers at both Second Mile and Goodwill noted that a large number of college students frequent the stores. The things most often bought at both were clothes and kitchenware, though Goodwill staff also mentioned that sweaters were the most popular item. Goodwill also expressed an interest in volunteers; students can contact Goodwill or stop by the store if interested.