Welcome to SoPhilly Favorites, a new, occasional series in which we highlight places we like just for the hell of it.
American Thrift is the best thrift store in South Philly.
Admittedly, the competition is pretty weak these days. The Circle Thrift at 1125 S. Broad (where I once found a J. Crew bracelet for $2) has a decent selection but is significantly smaller. The Goodwill on West Passyunk (where I once found Band of Outsiders plaid flannel shirt that retailed for over $100) closed a couple of years ago and the other Goodwill at Front and Oregon (where I haven’t found anything particularly memorable) is overpriced and over-stocked with rejects from Ross and Marshall’s. AIDS Thrift on Passyunk near 5th is humongous, although it seems more like an underpriced vintage store than a true thrift store.
On my latest venture to American Thrift, I saw many vintage items still in great condition: a tiered serving tray, a pair of wood-and-ceramic lamps, a tea towel, and a set of elephant-shaped canisters. Always check the bulk linen bins, where I found 29 vintage doilies for a friend’s wedding centerpieces (averaging about $1 each). The appliances section can often yield small treasures, such as a Black and Decker hand blender ($3). If you’re crafty, make sure to check for fabric remnants, which are underneath the records. The valuable items they keep behind the register are overpriced but worth a look.
I have never come away empty-handed, which speaks highly for the quality of the store and probably gives you an indication of the state of my closets.
Although I am wholeheartedly proclaiming 8th and Wolf to be “the best,” it does have two drawbacks: they are not open on Sundays and they close around 4:45 p.m. Monday through Saturday. But on the plus side, they are two blocks away from another local treasure: Frangelli’s Bakery, home of the Best Doughnuts in South Philly.
I recommend spending an entire Saturday morning eating doughnuts and browsing the aisles at The Best Little Thrift Store in South Philly.