By Matt Muñoz
One cardigan, one pair retro sneakers, one used George Foreman Grill — all for a grand total of 10 dollars.The low cost of clothing and items for dorm rooms available in thrift stores seems to be attracting college students, according to Greg Adkinson, assistant manager at the Salvation Army on Portage Road.“A lot of college students like designer clothes,” said Adkinson. “What you’ll pay for at the mall you’ll get here for a much more affordable price.”This seems to be the most popular reason Kalamazoo College students are increasingly attracted to local thrift and second-hand stores.“Most of my friends shop at thrift stores,” said junior Katie Wright. “I think from a sustainability and environmentalism standpoint, there’s no reason not to.”
Sophomore Christine Slowiak said that sustainability was a major incentive for her to shop at thrift stores.
“I can wear clothes and not feel guilty about changing trends,” said Slowiak. “It’s very cost effective and more ecologically effective.”
Many of the shops in the local area also offer student discounts, on top of the low prices, to draw more students in from K and Western Michigan University, according to Adkinson. He said the Salvation Army offers a 10 percent discount with a student ID.
“[For] a poor college student, there is the appeal of not having to spend all that money,” said Wright. “I think it’s good for a student budget and it’s completely adequate.”
Slowiak encouraged other K students to consider trying out second-hand shopping as a cheap alternative to the mall.
“You can find a lot of really special items that can mean more to you than mass-produced things,” she said. “I think in general you just have to have a keen eye so you don’t walk out with everything.”