Palm Beach County is thick with thrift shops, some of which are pretty grungy and others that are as elegant as a high-end boutique. On a recent buying trip I visited many of them and found several worth repeat visits.
Goodwill has a lot of stores in Palm Beach County and there is a clear hierarchy among them. At the top of this hierarchy, and by far the most elegant thrift shop I’ve ever been to, is the Goodwill Embassy Boutique in Palm Beach. Located in the heart of a cluster of high-end consignment and vintage shops, and featuring beautiful built-in wood cabinets, if you didn’t know that this was Goodwill you wouldn’t know that it was Goodwill.
The prices are also higher than a typical Goodwill, but generally reasonable for the quality of merchandise. It is clear that Goodwill sends a lot of its best items to this shop. I found a beautiful two-tone 1940’s link bracelet there. They also have a lot of newer vintage and contemporary designer clothing with a whole rack devoted to local favorite Lilly Pulitzer. One caveat: Goodwill is a charity and not always expert on telling genuine designer goods from fakes, so on high-end items it’s best that you know how to identify them yourself (when I was there a woman familiar with Tiffany crystal told me that a bowl that she was examining was a fake).
Next in the hierarchy is what are known as Goodwill “Boutiques”. These boutiques have high quality merchandise that is well-organized and in great condition. The prices are higher than at non-boutique Goodwills, but less than the Palm Beach store. At the southern end of Palm Beach County the Boca Raton Goodwill Boutique had nice newish clothing and accessories; during my visit they also had large collection of vintage teapots and pitchers and lots of sets of vintage china and crystal. Most of the jewelry was contemporary costume jewelry.
Working northward, the Palm Beach Gardens Goodwill Boutique is the largest I’ve ever seen. There was a particularly good assortment of newish high-quality kitchen ware, and some nice sofas in nearly new condition. It also had some nice vintage jewelry, although I didn’t purchase anything. And most exciting, Goodwill just moved their Vintage Shop into this Goodwill (it was not there during my visit in late July and, miraculously, appeared when I re-visited in mid-August).
At the northern end of Palm Beach County the town of Jupiter is a good place to go thrifting. While not strong on vintage, the Goodwill Super Store in Jupiter is a very nice store for general thrifting, with lower prices than at the Boutiques.
Also in Jupiter, though not a thrift store, is the Sims Creek Antique Mall. The day I was there the store was low on merchandise as there had been a clearance auction held there the night before. Nevertheless, there was a lovely collection of Victorian clothing and a few great pieces of clothing from the 20’s and 30’s. Once they knew that I was looking for vintage jewelry, the friendly owners pulled out some nice Scandinavian silver and enamel jewelry that wasn’t on display because of the previous night’s auction. Here are a few of the pieces pieces that I purchased:
Update, January 2015: I believe the Sims Creek Antique Mall is closed. I didn’t get a chance to check it out in person, but the link to their website is no longer active.
A short ride south from Jupiter on Highway 1 is an excellent thrift shop in Juno Beach run by Hospice of Palm Beach County. Somewhat hidden away from the road in a shopping center, this thrift shop is well worth seeking out. While their prices are in the high end of the range of thrift shop prices they get high-quality merchandise and in the past I’ve purchased Mexican jewelry, a modernist silver ring, a chrome and glass coffee table, and a Tiffany crystal ice bucket at this shop. They are also strong on contemporary women’s clothing, housewares, and books. Hospice of Palm Beach County also has a nice thrift shop in West Palm Beach on Military Trail near Belvedere Road.
A few blocks south of the Hospice of Palm Beach County Thrift store in West Palm Beach is the Salvation Army Family Store. While the main store is nothing special, there is an adjacent Salvation Army boutique that specializes in vintage goods. On this particular trip they had a decent selection of vintage clothing including some great beaded and embroidered Indian tunics, and a nice grouping of Chinese tchotkes. While their selection of jewelry on this visit was limited, I’ve picked up some nice pieces there in the past.
Also in West Palm Beach, just north of Antique Row on South Dixie Highway, is the Nearly New thrift shop. This store has a lot of high-end merchandise at mid-range prices. During my visit they had a great selection of designer shoes. Had they fit me I would have gladly purchased a pair of unworn Thierry Rabotan shoes for $60 as they are phenomenally comfortable and stylish and retail for $400-550. There was a limited amount of jewelry on my visit but lots of high-quality clothing, furniture, and housewares.
Where to eat:
One of my favorite restaurants in Palm Beach County is located in Jupiter, Little Moir’s Food Shack and I actually discovered the thrift shops of Jupiter during visits to “the Shack” as most people call it. Behind the funky decor and strip mall location is a kitchen that really knows how to cook seafood. Everything I’ve had there has been excellent including fried oyster salad, ceviche, steamed clams, broiled scallops, and an unusual onion soup topped with blue cheese. But beware, it’s very popular, having received top reviews from Zagat and the NY Times. I like showing up for a late afternoon lunch on a weekday to avoid long waits since they don’t take reservations.
Goodwill Embassy Boutique: 210 Sunset Avenue, Palm Beach
Goodwill Boutique: 1662 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton
Goodwill Boutique: 4224 Northlake Boulevard, Palm Beach Gardens
Goodwill Super Store: 1280 W. Indiantown Road, Jupiter
Sims Creek Antique Mall: 1695 W. Indiantown Road, Jupiter
Hospice of Palm Beach County: 863 Donald Ross Road, Juno Beach (in Plaza La Mer shopping Center off US 1)
Hospice of Palm Beach County: 1324 N. Military Trail, West Palm Beach
Nearly New Thrift Shop, S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach
Salvation Army, 655 N. Military Trail, West Palm Beach
Little Moir’s Food Shack: 103 US 1, Jupiter (at intersection of US 1 and Indiantown Road)
While I checked out a few non-boutique Goodwills I didn’t find any others that distinguished themselves from average thrift shops. However, if you’re interested in searching them out, most of the Goodwills that I visited had a printed list of all their shops in the “Gulfstream Goodwill” region, which encompasses Palm Beach County, Martin County, St. Lucie County, Indian River County, and Okeechobee County.