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Solutions: Secondhand shops have first-class finds

Jeanine Matlow
Special to The Detroit News

With a greater supply and increasing demand, resale stores are better than ever. Just pay a visit to one or more of the new and improved Goodwill locations in Canton, Dearborn, Commerce, Livonia and Woodhaven.

Holly Thomas, marketing and special events coordinator for Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit, will be showcasing some of their unique pieces at the Novi Home Remodeling Show Friday through Sunday at the Suburban Collection Showplace.

“We’ll be pulling treasures from different Goodwill stores. We want people to rethink what they can find there,” says Thomas, an avid thrift store shopper.

“You can save money and the money goes back to employing people in Detroit, so it’s a win-win for everyone.”

Although Goodwill carries clothing, their focus at the Novi show will be on home goods. “Remodeling a house is really expensive,” says Thomas. “This is a great way to save money on everything from artwork to housewares.”

She’s hoping people will have a completely different idea of what it’s like to visit the stores. “It’s great to donate and it’s a great experience for shoppers,” she says.

Thomas says the stores accept donations seven days a week and those who donate receive coupons for shopping.

Their resale stores are always fully stocked and the items vary in each location.

“We try to keep prices comparable to other resale stores,” Thomas says. Each clothing rack has set pricing and there are monthly promotions and sales.

At Goodwill, she says you can find unique pieces including vintage. “People like to mix in a lot of old with new. You can use old pieces or a basic piece like a vintage bowl or cake stand and you can change the way you reuse them throughout the year,” she says.

Though their furniture selection varies, Thomas says that tables, chairs, bookcases and lamps are easy to find.

Everything electrical or battery-operated is in working order and the selections change throughout the day.

“Resale stores are not dirty and dingy like they were before,” says Thomas. “I have friends who never thrift shopped before and they’re now addicted to coming out and finding treasures at Goodwill.”

She recommends having a good balance between what you buy at conventional stores and what you find at resale shops. “There are things you can mix very easily,” she says. “That’s how I decorate at home.”

Thomas will stage the Goodwill pop-up store at the Novi show to simulate an actual space, like a living room. Smaller items from the display will be available for purchase.

Today, she says you’re more likely to find nicer donations because people often shop to excess: “They buy a ton of things and some of them didn’t work with their personal fashion sense.”

“Your first stop should be Goodwill and then you can mix with other pieces and save yourself a ton of money,” Thomas says.

For information about the Novi Home Remodeling Show, go to For information about Goodwill, go to

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at