Value Village, first introduced to Canada in 1980, is a second-hand clothing paradise. No, it may not look like it at first glance. But after uncovering a few diamonds in the rough, one quickly recognizes the style potential amidst the rows and rows of clothing racks.
Often mistaken as a non-profit organization, Value Village is privately owned by Tom Ellison, the son of the store’s founder, and private equity firms Leonard Green & Partners, L.P., and TPG.
Each store is associated with a non-profit partner in the community. Ottawa’s five Value Village locations support the Canadian Diabetes Association and the Ontario Federation for Cerebral Palsy.
The Value Village team receives thousands of items daily via their Community Donation Centers, located at Value Village stores and operating during regular business hours. These items are sifted for the highest quality products, which then end up in-store. The remaining goods are recycled or donated cross-country and internationally.
Not only does Value Village give back to the national and global community, it also saves 600 million pounds of clothing from being sent to landfills annually. Second-hand clothing in itself is a form of recycling as well.
Boasting an overwhelming selection and more than a few shoulder pads, there are a few tricks of the trade to achieve optimum Value Village success.
Most importantly, be sure you enter Value Village equipped with patience, an open mind and a good chunk of time.
The key to spotting a gem is to be open to out-of-the-ordinary or unusual details. Prints, embellishments and shape work together to create a unique piece. Value Village’s accessories sections are especially fun and funky, ranging from brightly-colored stilettos to loud costume jewelry to chic, on-trend satchels.
Another perk of shopping at Value Village is the percentage of high-quality pieces and brand names. In only one visit, familiar names such as Joe Fresh, RW&Co and Banana Republic can be encountered at a mere fraction of the original selling price.
A major advantage to scoring your second-hand steals from Value Village is they offer dressing rooms. Do try on your finds as fit can make or break a piece. Keep in mind some tailoring may be required.
While there have been rumblings at increasing prices, Value Village remains every fashion gal’s secret weapon. It is a great way to try out seasonal trends without the commitment of paying full price, as well as add statement pieces into your wardrobe. Value Village also regularly hosts extraordinary sale events, so you can save even more. Sign up for their membership program, Super Savers Club, to stay in the loop on sales and other exclusive news.
Kelsey Sunstrum is a freelance lifestyle writer and an avid foodie. Aside from writing, she holds interests in popular culture, semiotics and sociology.