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Four thrift shops near Stony Brook University for a day out on the town

The interior of “Island Thrift’s” many clothing sections. The Centereach location is a 15-minute drive from Stony Brook’s campus. ANGELINA LIVIGNI/THE STATESMAN

Thrifting has become a popular alternative to shopping firsthand from fashion retailers. Originally, its main purpose was to provide affordable clothing while sometimes raising money for charitable causes such as homeless shelters. However, thrifting has recently become more mainstream through social media, promoting sustainability by extending the life cycle of existing clothing and reducing the production demand for new items.

There are a handful of thrift stores near Stony Brook University, providing an opportunity to support local businesses while enjoying a fun day out on the town.

Hope Springs Eternal Second Chance Boutique 

A short walk from the Long Island Rail Road Port Jefferson station, Hope Springs Eternal Second Chance Boutique has a wide range of items, including accessories and furniture. 

According to their website, the second-hand shop supports Hope House Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to “provid[ing] compassionate, comprehensive and competent care for the poor, the marginal and the wounded among us.” 

There are a few welcoming racks of clothing outside the store, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. Venturing inside, you can find charming sections, such as one with bookcases filled with board games and abundant racks of matching, ornate dishware. 

A limited yet high-quality clothing selection area for men and women is tucked away in a corner of the store. For a broader selection, shoppers can explore the tented area beyond the back exit. A good portion of clothes are wardrobe staples, but there are some distinctive pieces in the mix as well. 

Not every item is priced, but upon asking staff, the price range is quite affordable, with many clothing pieces below $10. 

Savers

Savers is a for-profit thrift shop franchise with several locations on Long Island. The two closest locations to the University are the Holbrook location, which is roughly a 20-minute drive, or the Medford location, which is a 30-minute drive.

Savers has an extensive selection of men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, as well as many household goods such as dishware and bedding. Savers offers occasional sale discounts and some of the lowest prices, with many items listed below $10. 

The store is well organized by clothing type and size. New additions to the clothing racks occur throughout the day, but the best selection can be found when the store opens before the afternoon rush. Overall, Savers is an ideal location for those searching for everyday staples and business attire on a budget. 

Pattern Finders

This small consignment shop in Port Jefferson feels like stepping into your mom’s or grandmother’s vintage closet. Conveniently located in the village of Port Jefferson and accessible by the University’s shuttle bus, the store has an eclectic assortment of accessories, fur coats, handbags, dishware and ornaments. 

Although the clothing selection is mostly crammed in a compact back room, it has the most unique finds out of all of the stores on this list. Pattern Finders is mostly catered towards women’s clothing and many of the items start at $20. The selection offers statement pieces, as well as prom and evening gowns.

When I visited, the storekeeper fostered a warm atmosphere by chatting with customers and showing a strong familiarity with the store’s contents, offering the finest recommendations. If you’re looking for vintage or statement pieces to add to your wardrobe or gift to a friend, Pattern Finders is a great place to stop by. 

Island Thrift

Island Thrift is a great one-stop shop with an ample variety of clothing and household goods. The Centereach location is a 15-minute drive from campus. From shelves of books, vinyl and CDs to various household goods, such as light fixtures and charming antique dishware, even window shopping is enjoyable.

The store is mostly clothing, offering any item or accessory from head to toe. Notably, the store has a lot of business attire and plus-size clothing. 

Although very orderly, first-time visitors may feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of clothing available. Be prepared to spend a good amount of your day there if you plan to search through all — or even most — of the racks. 

Though the prices can resemble higher thrift prices found in New York City, most items are below $30. The unique sales system offers different discounts on different days of the week, as listed by the cash registers, to get the most value for your money.  

Accustomed to New York City prices that can exceed $30 for a basic T-shirt, I was happily surprised that thrifting on Long Island was more affordable. Thrifting can be a hit-or-miss experience. After a few visits, I have found unique items like a vintage blazer and floral fleece jacket from these shops. I especially treasure these items in my wardrobe because they’re intertwined with fond memories of thrifting with friends. 

If you’re looking for a fun activity, thrifting solo or with others at these local stores is a great way to add basics to your wardrobe and experiment with new styles affordably and sustainably. 

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