My Favorite Thrift Stores in East Tennessee:
No. 1 KARM Stores
Locations: Farragut 10612 Kingston Pike Knoxville; Halls 6840 Maynardville Pike Knoxville; Merchants 314 Merchants Dr Knoxville
I always find great vintage at KARM and at good price points. Note that furniture is usually priced on a consignment model with prices decreasing over time.
Shopping here also has the added bonus of providing meals to families in need.
Rhea County Hwy, Dayton, TN 37321
This is a hole in the wall I happened to stumble upon when driving to Chattanooga. They don’t seem to keep regular hours, but if you find them open the ladies running it will make you a great deal and let you go through the boxes in the back of unpacked goodies!
Last time I stopped in, I scored that set of Indian Tree dishes and some fabulous blue and white!
No. 3 Ladies of Charity Thrift
120 W Baxter Ave Knoxville, TN 37917
This is a well organized and clean thrift store in East Tennessee. They regularly have great furniture and holiday decor. Pricing is about average for a thrift, if a little high on furniture.
Turnover is a bit slower here, so I try to go once a month.
1511 Downtown W Blvd Knoxville, TN 37919
The Restore is a great source for curios, furniture, home fixtures, and renovation materials. I always make a point of looking for wallpaper, lighting, painting supplies, and architectural salvage like mantels here. This location is very clean and well organized.
Shopping at this thrift store also means you are contributing to a good cause!
No. 5 America’s Thrift
248 Northgate Mall Dr Suite 122 Chattanooga, TN 37415
This is a really big thrift store in East Tennessee with racks and racks of clothes, home goods, books, and furniture. Pricing is very reasonable, and the store is orderly and clean.
I always find treasures here like the brass bow napkin rings and plate shown to the right.
Don’t skip this one if you are in Chattanooga!
Just a few things to keep in mind when thrifting…
No. 1 Don’t underestimate the power of manifestation.
Set your intention to find something specific when you start your thrifting adventure. Think about it regularly though out the day, and I promise you will most likely see more than one! It may not be at the right price point, but you will start finding that curio.
No. 2 Go regularly.
Try to gage how often merchandise is put out and turned over: weekly, bi-weekly, monthly. Make it a point to go that often. Somedays you won’t find anything and other days will be full of gems.
No. 3 Consider the community in which the store is located.
I’m not trying to sound elitist, but you have to consider the socio-economic status and age group of the people donating to the thrift store. Is the shop near a country club? Is the shop connected to a charity that elicits more donations because of it missionary work? Etc…
For example – in N.C. Goodwill always has great stuff, but here in T.N. I rarely find anything worth buying at this thrift store. KARM seems to be the more popular donation recipient.
No. 4 When in doubt pick it up and put it in your buggy.
Mull over an item with it firmly in your hands! I can’t tell you the number of times I walked away from something to consider the purchase then changed my mind and went back for it just a few minutes later to find it already scooped up.
No. 5 Bring a tape measure and loupe.
If you are hunting for a specific piece of furniture with exact measurements you will need that tape measure, and not every store keeps one for customers to use. I keep a mini one in my handbag. Also consider buying a loupe, which is a jeweler’s magnifying glass, and keep it in your handbag too. Use it to investigate art that might be a print instead of an actual painting.
No. 6 Put a box and newsprint in your car for packing.
Most thrift stores will wrap your curios in newsprint for you, but they are not often generous with it. To avoid any breakages while traveling home, I always keep a box with extra paper and a moving blanket in my car.
No. 7 Find out if the store buys or solicits estates versus just accepting donations.
This is more often practiced by private church or specific smaller charity thrift stores. These stores will have better quality curios because they are buying or being gifted whole estates.
Alright! Get out there and find some fabulous treasures!
In a few weeks, I’ll share my favorite thrift stores in Western North Carolina.