When Alyssa Jackson, owner of After Our's Vintage, combs through the racks of area thrift stores, looking for the perfect pieces to curate for sale, she sees individuals. "It's almost a collection of all these parts of my life and people in my life," she says of her thrifting process. One piece will remind her of her sister and another of her best friend. Thinking of others is a popular theme in the thrifting world, and Montgomery County is full of fashionistas and do-gooders shopping to make the world a better and more stylish place.
You wouldn't know it looking from Interstate 45, but the almost abandoned Conroe Outlet Mall houses one of the liveliest stores in Conroe: Jazzy Junque. Mothers of the store, Odette D'Agostino, Nanci Day, and Michelle Willie, can only be described as charitable co-conspirators. The shop supports New Danville, an organization that seeks to serve adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities through day programs and a residential community.
The women don't like the "thrift store" title and prefer it to be called an upscale resale shop. Odette says if the item isn't quality, they don't put it out, and it shows. Walking into the store's 10,000-square-foot space is like entering a department store. A regular named Betty says she comes to Jazzy Junque to "shop for whoever, wherever, needs whatever." The store offers an assortment of fine furniture, glassware, books, jewelry, and more.
"By shopping at Something Special Store, you are helping to keep our doors open," says Melanie Jackman, director of residential services for the Montgomery County Women's Center. She doesn't mean the doors to the store.
In 2022, their emergency shelter was accessed by 1,056 victims of domestic abuse or sexual assault. All donated items are given directly to the women the organization serves or are sold in the store, where proceeds go right back toward the cause. They always need donations, and there are plenty of cool items to thrift. While they can have anything and everything, Melanie notes that there is an extensive shoe department, lots of lamps, and a great selection of wedding dresses. The store also hosts community events during October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and April, Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
Angels Loft is another local thrift shop supporting a great cause. Angel Reach runs a transitional living program for kids who have aged out of the foster care system and assists kinship placement families. Executive Director of Angel Reach, Jean Radach, started as a volunteer. She remembers back when they only had one house. Kids were literally knocking on the door, looking for some support. As the donations rolled in, the organization decided to sell excess contributions to raise money. Beyond raising funds, the store also serves as a place of employment for young adults needing a paycheck or experience for their resumes. If you're looking to get some new items for a great price, Angels Loft often gets donations of Amazon overstock items. Unique finds more your taste? Strangely, Angels Loft once got a donation of over 250 Cuckoo Clocks.
People always ask Pippa Williams, "Where should I donate my clothes?" She answers by telling them to find what they are passionate about. Pippa, one-half of Too Cheap Chicks (the other half is Jen Meneely), has done over 200 television segments on thrifting, showing the world how to look good on a budget. Even with all the press, she says they don't make any money on their Facebook or Instagram and instead like to help nonprofits. The focus on service is inherited from Pippa's mother, who volunteered at the Assistance League. Now Pippa, who serves on the advisory board, helps out the organization with their social media presence. While the Assistance League thrift shop supports multiple causes, Operation School Bell is a signature program. Underprivileged children are given vouchers to shop for brand-new clothes at the beginning of the school year. Pippa notes how important being able to pick out their own clothes is to the kids. If you're passionate about helping the kiddos, the Assistance League is your place to thrift.
“By shopping at Something Special Store, you are helping to keep our doors open,” says Melanie Jackman, director of residential services for the Montgomery County Women’s Center.