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Students explore area thrift stores

Shoppers look through the racks at Remix Recycling Company. The store, formerly known as Mustard seed, has sold new and used clothing for many years. Photo by Abbi Audas.

Shoppers look through the racks at Remix Recycling Company. The store, formerly known as Mustard seed, has sold new and used clothing for many years. Photo by Abbi Audas.

Shoppers look through the racks at Remix Recycling Company. The store, formerly known as Mustard seed, has sold new and used clothing for many years. Photo by Abbi Audas.

By Abbi Audas

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Shopping at the mall can be expensive. Local malls, filled with designer brands that come at steep prices, are sometimes unaffordable to students. Reduced thrift store prices provide some students with an affordable option to express their style. Not only do local thrift stores offer new and resale clothing with more affordable prices than high-end retail stores, but shopping in thrift stores is also an experience in and of itself.  Here are two popular local thrift stores to visit.  

Remix Recycling Co.

Many thrift stores, such as Remix Recycling Co., carry on-trend clothing along with vintage and chic apparel. Remix Recycling Co., which until recently was known as Mustard Seed, has sold secondhand clothing and accessories since 1991. Sophomore Quinn Okon has been shopping at thrift stores such as Remix Recycling Co. since she was young, she said.  

“I normally buy unique sweatshirts or tee shirts,” Okon said. “The clothes are so different, coming from all sorts of people with a range of styles and generations.”

Remix Recycling Co. owner Derek Kennedy runs the longstanding Bethesda store, and he said the clothes are fashionable because people have the opportunity to create their own style from a variety of different clothes averaging $10 for any used item.

“A part of the reason why I changed the name to Remix was that I felt like you are taking things from other people and remixing it,” Kennedy said. “You pair things together and make them an outfit to create your own style by buying stuff from us.”

Remix also allows customers to sell their clothing to the store and give clothes the chance to get reused, Kennedy said. The store’s brick walls, paired with antique clothing racks, give it a unique and professional feel, shoppers said. Unlike other local thrift stores, Remix promotes their clothing on Instagram and Facebook.

The drawback to a thrift store is the idea that clothing has already been used, yet employees said their products are close to new.

Remix Recycling Co. is located at 7349 Wisconsin Ave, Bethesda, Maryland.  It opens Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 12 to 6 p.m.

Urban Thrift

Located in Kensington, Maryland, Urban Thrift sells clothing, home furnishings, electronics and more for reasonable prices. The shop’s extensive selection makes it worth visiting to find almost any product.  

Junior Mackenzie Costley began shopping at Urban Thrift this year because she could go with friends and find a variety of clothing options, she said.

“Thrift stores have a much more unique selection of apparel and accessories than other stores, which make them more interesting to shop at,” Costley said. “I was able to buy a vintage ring and three shirts for $8, which were all in very good condition.”

Urban Thrift opened in 2014 and sells gently used clothing under the ownership of The Arc Montgomery County, an organization providing 500 people with inclusive child care, work skills training, community living services and other resources.  All profits from Urban Thrift are used to support The Arc Montgomery County’s programs for youth, adults and seniors.

Joyce Taylor has been working at The Arc Montgomery County for the past 37 years and opened Urban Thrift during her time as executive director of the organization. Since retiring from this position, she has worked to help support the training program that Urban Thrift houses for youth ages 18-24 with intellectual disabilities who are interested in retail careers. Three classes each year prepare these students for independent employment.
“The fact that the youth are in an actual work environment even though they are going through training allows them to do a lot,” Taylor said. “By placing them in our store, we can support what they are being taught and allow them to make some mistakes before going into real life work experiences.”
The training consists of three weeks of classroom education, two weeks at Urban Thrift and five weeks at an internship sponsored by stores such as Petsmart, Michaels and Homegoods.  By running the youth program at the store, customers can witness how their donations and purchases benefit the community.  
“Our program helps customers to see our mission at work,” Taylor said. “People have an opportunity to see that their money actually goes to support a program they are witnessing.”

To visit Urban Thrift, go to Connecticut Avenue in Kensington on Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 12 to 4 p.m.

About the Writer
Abbi Audas, Senior Columnist
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