Down & Out in Reno: SPCA of Northern Nevada Thrift Store

spca_outside

Still broke? Stretching that package of ramen until payday? It is usually during times of financial hardship that Opportunity decides to give you a chance to better your life. However, you need clothes for an interview. Your morale, after a year of looking for work, has been whittled down to the breaking point. Now the phone rings, and you are asked to come in for an interview. You need to walk in looking confident, poised, and perfect. That’s easy when you have a good job and some money. But now Opportunity is knocking, and you need to look the part. A suit would be helpful.

Previously, I wrote about Plato’s Closet, a nationwide, for profit franchise. The prices are for the budget minded, and it has a great selection of moderately trendy clothing for the impoverished, sartorially-minded person. But it does not have suits.

Thrift stores, which are what this series is mainly about, are generally considered stores that sell donated items, used or new, at low prices, and the proceeds go to a charity or cause. Plato’s Closet makes no claim to be anything other than a for-profit store. Others, like Savers, pretend to be a charity, but are also in it for the money (more on Savers in the next installment).

The SPCA of Northern Nevada Thrift Store is a classic thrift store with a fine selection, excellent prices, and a great cause.

spca interiorApproaching the building from Vine Street and 4th Street, the building looks like a relic from the 70s, orange clay roof tiles and tan-on-brown paint. When I entered the building, the 70s vibe continues with its tan walls and brown tiled floor.

 

I have shopped at the SPCA Thrift Store many times during my time in Reno. I live a few blocks from the building, and it’s a handy place to visit.

It has recently been undergoing renovations, with a glass display case for jewelry and collectibles now in the front. And its clothing sections have been reorganized. Like any thrift shop, however, it will take time to find what you are looking for.

spca interior1

The SPCA of Northern Nevada also has a large selection of used furniture.

I found a charcoal, two-piece wool men’s suit that looked great. The condition was like new and, at $10, I considered it a steal. But, like many thrift store shoppers, I put it back because it was the wrong size.

Men’s clothing runs from $1 to $3 for shirts, slacks, and jeans. A few special clothing items were marked higher. But a few dollars was the general price range.

I bought this book about running for 25 cents. There was a little wear on the top right corner, but the pages were clean and intact. A great deal! Now I just have to actually go running.

I bought this book about running for 25 cents. There was a little wear on the top right corner, but the pages were clean and intact. A great deal! Now I just have to actually go running.

The SPCA Thrift Store has a good, sometimes excellent, collection of books for sale. I bought a book about running for 25 cents. Paperbacks are usually 25 cents, which is so cheap, I buy books there, read them, and then give them back. Hardcover books are usually $1. Some books are marked higher due to being a collectible or being of notable high quality. It also has DVDs and CDs for $2 each.

The profits from this thrift store go to a cause I am happy to support, the SPCA of Northern Nevada. The SPCA provides services for animals needing homes. Here’s how its described on its website:

“The SPCA, founded in 1998, is Reno’s original no-kill animal shelter. Our mission is to be an innovative regional leader in responsible treatment of homeless dogs and cats, primarily through their rescue and placement in forever loving homes and by promoting spaying and neutering to control pet overpopulation. We accomplish our mission with dedication to our core values and a lifetime commitment to our animals.”

Consider visiting the SPCA of Northern Nevada if you are looking for a pet. Oliver is 5 years old and needs a home. I would take this guy in a heartbeat, but I'm not allowed to have pets in my apartment.

Consider visiting the SPCA of Northern Nevada if you are looking for a pet. Oliver is 5 years old and needs a home. I would take this guy in a heartbeat, but I’m not allowed to have pets in my apartment.

Also, the SPCA of Northern Nevada is a local charity, so the profits generated by this store stay within the Reno community.

I’ve made many donations to this thrift store. The staff has been very friendly and conversational. They seem to truly appreciate my donations.

For more information about the SPCA of Northern Nevada, please follow the link below. If you are looking for a pet, its website is a great place to start. If you are looking for some great deals, stop by the SPCA of Northern Nevada Thrift Shop and give it a look.

If you have a larger donation, you can schedule the SPCA of Northern Nevada to pick up your donation.

If you have a larger donation, you can schedule the SPCA of Northern Nevada to pick up your donation.

 

SPCA of Northern Nevada
401 Vine St.
Reno, NV 89503
(775) 324-7776
 
Hours:
Monday – Saturday: 9:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.
Sunday: 12 to 3:45

Down & Out in Reno: Recycled Records (Part Two)

recycled records part 2 storefront 2

Sequels are rarely up to the elan of the original work. Likewise, this follow-up to last week’s review of Recycled Records cannot possibly match the entertainment value of the original article.

recycled records part 2 storefrontMy first experience buying at Recycled Records was a fun and fruitful experience – dire urge to find a restroom aside. I managed to pick up two albums I had been looking for at a great price. I had some compact discs at home that I never listened to and decided to take a few of them in for a trade.

While Recycled Records will pay cash for CDs, don’t expect a lot. Even on its website, it warns that the payout is not a lot. Usually trade is the way to go with used record shops. And I wanted some new music anyways.

So I packed a Trader Joe’s paper bag with 18 CDs.  And left my tiny, carpeted prison I call my apartment and walked to Recycled Records to make a trade.

Here is what I took in:

pistolanniesiron maiden final frontiergorillazmoonrise kingdomloto musicsarahbrightman dreamshakira livelumineers

Sarah Brightman Dream Chaser
John Debney Predators (Soundtrack)
Dragonforce Sonic Firestorm
Gorillaz Demon Days
Iron Maiden The Final Frontier
Japan Koto Music Nonesuch Explorer Series
The Lumineers The Lumineers
Brad Paisley Wheelhorse
Brad Paisley Time Well Wasted
Pistol Annies Hell on Heels
Ennio Morricone The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly (Soundtrack)
Original Soundtrack Moonrise Kingdom
Original Soundtrack Sucker Punch
Various The Rocky Story
Shakira Live off the Record
John Williams Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Rage Against the Machine Evil Empire
The Verve Urban Hymns

 

The clerk refused Brad Paisley’s “Time Well Wasted” and The Verve’s “Urban Hymns” because the store already had too many copies.

As he added up my store credit, I walked around the store. It has a large selection of CDs and DVDs, and is starting to stock used Blu-Ray Discs. CDs, however, were on my mind. Immediately I found a copy of Adam and the Ants first album “Dirk Wears White Sox,” which had a $10 price tag. This is a good punk album, and I’ve been looking for a copy of it, especially the remastered version with bonus tracks.

The clerk told me I had $45 store credit. After browsing for an hour, I picked out eight albums.

adamandtheants dirkgabriel passionbowie lowmoby 18moby everythingbjork selmasongsbjork homogenicbjork debut

Adam and the Ants Dirk Wears White Sox (remastered and expanded)
Björk Debut
Björk Homogenic
Björk Selmasongs
David Bowie Low
Peter Gabriel Passion (Soundtrack for The Last Temptation of Christ)
Moby Everything Is Wrong
Moby 18

For some, this may seem like a bad deal. But both of my kids told me that the trade I got is much better than what they get trading video games as Gamestop. And I got some music that I enjoy.

I published this information to give you an idea of how trade works at Recycled Records. I can’t promise you’ll have the same experience, but I feel the store gave me a fair deal.

If you enjoy music, I recommend you go to Recycled Records, even if it is to just look around. While looking around, I checked out its vinyl selection. Picking up a Yes album, I was reminded of the haptic quality of these large album covers, packed with gatefold sleeves and amazing artwork.

Recycled Records is a local business, so its profits are Reno’s profits. It is run by locals. You save money. The local economy makes money. And we all get to enjoy some bitchin’ tunes. Check it out!

Recycled Records
822 South Virginia Street
Reno, NV 89501
(775) 826-4119
Hours: M-Th 10am-7pm, F-Sa 10am-8pm, Su 12pm-6pm
 

Copyright 2014 Tony George

Down & Out in Reno: Recycled Records (Part One)

recycled records frontI don’t care how poor you are. You got to have some tunes! It doesn’t matter if you are a living-paycheck-to-paycheck type of poor or the sleeping-under-a-bridge-marinated-in-your-own-urine poor. Music humanizes us. I have had some rough patches in my life, and people love to judge a person for enjoying anything when you are poor as shit.

“How dare you to listen to that Ace of Base CD when you say you can’t find a job. The only sign you should pay attention to is a “Help Wanted” sign.

Screw them. You need some new music. But money is tight. What are you going to do?

A few weeks ago, I was walking along Virginia Street along what has become mid-town Reno. I knew Recycled Records had moved there around December 2012 but had never taken the time to stop and check them out. I had been to the store when it was on Kietzke Lane to buy a ticket to see Kittie, but that was in 2007.

I had been looking for an album by Beck titled “Mutations.” Like most of the music I enjoy, Best Buy and Barnes & Noble don’t stock much by Beck. As I walked past Recycled Records, I decided to enter and take a peek.

Walking into the narrow, cramped store, I looked at a shelf that said “This just in.” And what was there? “Mutations” by Beck. Score! The price was $8 for the used CD, cheaper – and quicker – than ordering on Amazon. I continued to look at CDs, DVDs, and vinyl. The place is packed with merchandise. It even has cassette tapes.

Recycled Records was started in 1978, but its current owner, Paul Doege, purchased it in 1980. Since then it made a few moves around Kietzke Lane until it ended up in Reno’s midtown. This location, while smaller than past places, is at the heart of Reno’s small business and artisan community. It belongs in midtown.

The urge to use a bathroom grew stronger as I walked around, but its bathroom had a sign reading “for employees only.” Not wanting to advance to the later version of poor mentioned in my opening, I decided it was time to take Beck, along with a Moby album, up to Eric and pay up.

I'm easy to please. The CDs were used (of course) but in great shape. For $13, I left Recycled Records with a grin on my face (and the dire urge to use a bathroom -- read the story).

I’m easy to please. The CDs were used (of course) but in great shape. For $13, I left Recycled Records with a grin on my face (and the dire urge to use a bathroom — read the story).

“I just put this Beck CD out there a few minutes ago,” Eric said.

“This is the exact item I was looking for. Have you heard his new album?” I said.

“No, I ordered it, but it hasn’t arrived. How is it?” Eric asked.

“Great. It reminds me a lot of ‘Sea Change,’ a low-key affair,” I said.

“So it’s kind of like ‘Mutations’ then?”

“Now that I think about it, yes.”

I asked him about the stores trading and selling policy. He said an appointment is required if I want to sell some used CDs for cash, but for trades, anytime is fine. He also said trade value was higher than cash value.

I have plenty of CDs I do not like and decided a trade would be a good way to get rid of my Pistol Annies CD and get something I like.

From this first real visit and purchase, I found Recycled Records to have some great deals. If it has more than four copies of an album, Recycled Records will cut the price in half. Most CDs sell for $8 used, but Recycled Records will take $2 off the total if you buy two. In my case, thanks to our shared respect for Beck, Eric charged me $13 for the Beck and Moby albums.

Did I return with some CDs to trade? You bet I did. How well the trade went, and more about my adventures at Recycled Records will be featured in part two.

And, yes, I did find a bathroom in time.

Recycled Records
822 South Virginia Street
Reno, NV 89501
(775) 826-4119
Hours: M-Th 10am-7pm, F-Sa 10am-8pm, Su 12pm-6pm
 

Copyright 2014 Tony George

Down & Out in Reno: Plato’s Closet

Located at 1535 South Virginia Street in Reno, Plato's Closet sits at the southern border of Reno's popular midtown.

Located at 1535 South Virginia Street in Reno, Plato’s Closet sits at the southern border of Reno’s popular midtown.

INTRODUCTION

Most of the biographies of my favorite writers end with something along the lines of “died penniless.” As a writer, “died penniless” does not bring glad tidings of future financial success. However, I love to write, so here I am, working low-wage, part-time jobs, hoping to finish my novel and get hired writing for a media outlet or an ad agency.

Poverty sucks. Living in a small studio apartment on First Street is not living the dream. Celibacy sucks too, but that’s another story.  With Nevada’s unemployment rate still at 9 percent, ranking 50 out of 51 – suck it Rhode Island – many Nevadans have opted to buy second hand items through thrift store and stores that specialize in recycled merchandise. Call us cheap or thrifty, but the goal is the same; to get something you want or need cheaper than you would at retail. I prefer the word “parsimonious.” If you have to be thrifty, you can at least sound like an elitist snob!

“Down & Out in Reno” is a multi-part series I am writing as I travel around town, looking for some good deals. I will be looking for deals from a variety of shops, including charity-driven thrift shops, for profit thrift shops, and other places that offer deals.

So let’s get started!

PLATO’S CLOSET

Located at the southern end of Reno’s midtown, Plato’s Closet is a national franchise, but each store is owner-operated. It specializes in gently-used, name-brand clothing, with a focus on the twenty-something demographic.

At 45, I’m outside of Plato’s target shopper, but I have found it to be a fun experience with a friendly staff, great items, and with prices better than some other thrift shops.

This Express purple and white shit ($7.99) is another great deal I got at Plato's Closet. (And again, I need to take better shots of these clothes and iron them. Next time!).

This Express purple and white shit ($7.99) is another great deal I got at Plato’s Closet. (And again, I need to take better shots of these clothes and iron them. Next time!).

Aeropostale polo shirt, $4.99. (Yes, I need to take better pictures of these clothes -- and iron them). This shirt is 100 percent cotton and feels great.

Aeropostale polo shirt, $4.99. (Yes, I need to take better pictures of these clothes — and iron them). This shirt is 100 percent cotton and feels great.

The store bustled a recent Saturday evening as people from a large span of ages and backgrounds came into the store, searching for clothing as if it was lost treasure. One man was simply looking for a pair of jeans, and quickly found what he was looking for. A young man in his early 20s came in with his arms full of shirts to sell. The clerk look through them, picking out the ones the store could use and giving him back ones that were stained. Parents brought their tween children in to find clothing for school. While the store focuses on shoppers in their twenties, shoppers of all ages seemed to enjoy their hunt for a great deal.

And that includes me. I had no specific plan, but I found two shirts that I liked and quickly bought them.

The staff was friendly and helpful. With the place busy, it would have been easy for the staff to get overwhelmed. Instead, they were attentive and kept everyone happy.

Like any place that deals with used items, it takes time to look around Plato’s Closet. And finding your size adds to the challenge. However, the store is well laid out, making searching for clothes easier.

 

 

 

Plato’s Closet Reno
1535 South Virginia Street 
Reno, NV 89502 
775-322-0110

Monday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Tuesday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Wednesday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Thursday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sunday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.