In the past few years, op shops and second hand stores have made a comeback; harbouring all things retro, vintage and unique. Today you can pick up quality furniture and home wares from many stores, as well as clothing of various brands for different occasions.
Most of us know of a few local 'Vinnie's' nearby, but for the self-confessed op shop kings and queens (such as myself), the locals can only be trawled through so many times. Finding a new op shop can be a thrill, like walking into a treasure trove. Many people may not know that there are some great stores on the far north side of Brisbane, in Sandgate, Brighton and Redcliffe.
I've scoured the stores around the area numerous times and have come away with many a unique bargain.
Here's a list of some of the better op shops in the area:
The Asthma Foundation of Queensland - Sandgate. The Lifeline Store - Sandgate. St. Vincent De Paul (Vinnie's) - Sandgate. The Salvation Army (Salvos) – Sandgate. St. Vincent De Paul – Brighton. Endeavour (Endo's) - Redcliffe.
All the stores in Sandgate are within walking distance of each other, which means you can easily check them all out in a few hours. In fact, The Asthma Foundation and Lifeline Store are right beside each other, so you can't do one without the other. These stores are mostly clothing and bric-a-brac and are both well organised, with clothing sizes and colours clear. The staff are particularly welcoming at the Lifeline Store, and they even offer a frequent purchasers card. If you spend a certain amount so many times, you eventually get a percentage of your next purchase off – great for people who pop in regularly and can't help but grab a bargain every time. Around the bend on 4th Avenue is Vinnie's. Again, this store is mostly clothing and bric-a-brac, and is well organised. They often have 'fill a bag for $5' bins by the doors.
Keep your eyes peeled for unique finds like old cameras.
The Salvos in Sandgate is right by the Sandgate train station. It has quite a selection of clothing and bric-a-brac too, but also has a hefty selection of furniture and hidden treasures. Think box brownies, elaborate jewellery and antique china tea sets. I've had many a good find in this store. Furniture ranges from bed frames, mirrors, bookcases, lounges, desks and the like. Be sure to ask at the front desk if you're after something particular though, as a lot of the bigger goods are held out the back.
Likewise, the Vinnie's on Beaconsfield Terrace in Brighton - just down the road - offers a range of furniture and haberdashery. There are lots of books too and the staff are lovely. It is a little stuffy and squishy though.
Lastly, if you head across the bridge and travel on for a while into Redcliffe, Endo's can be found on High St. This store is probably my favourite in the area – it's large, and full of clothes and shoes. Endeavour's hold a bit of a reputation for their spacious, clean, organised spaces; and items in this store are particularly clean and organised – men and women's, but also 'evening wear', skirts, dresses, blouses, plus sizes, new arrivals and even colours – making it very easy to browse. Items are always of a high quality too, and there is an impressive array of designer labels to be discovered. However, the quality and labels do come with higher price tags. While you can pick up a pair of skinny jeans at Vinnie's for as little as $4, expect to pay about $12 for the same thing at Endo's. Likewise, I've found boots I couldn't resist, and paid $20 for them, when a similar shoe would be half the price at other stores.
However, regardless of where you are op shopping, chances are you are getting a bargain, and it's probably going to be for an item nobody else has.
There are a lot of positives about op shopping, as the regulars would know; bargains, unique finds, the thrill of searching and discovering. For those who haven't ventured into an op shop, I say give it a go, you'll probably be pleasantly surprised. Best of all, you know all your purchases go towards a charity.
Keep in mind that most op shops are open from about 9am- 4pm during weekdays, usually with earlier closing times on Saturdays, and often closed on Sundays.