Pattern Mania, Shopping Etiquette & 3 Cheers to Independent Thrift Shops

I was out shopping yesterday in my neighbourhood and met some really fantastic folks! I live just outside Boston, in MetroWest Boston, popular with commuters who want to be both close to the city and have enjoy some greenery.

Yesterday I decided to venture out to the small towns in Worcester county. I took a trip down 495 to visit some Thrift Shops. I absolutely love treasure hunting, as you just never know what you’re going to find. So with my comfy pair of jeans, t-shirt, cardigan, flatties on foot and my trusty Miller’s Guide in hand, I set off!

First stop, Hopedale, MA. I didn’t know much about this little “village” next to Milford. It looked like an old industrial village, similar to those semi rural towns in the North of England. There was a huge, and I mean HUGE warehouse up for sale. It looked like it could be an old Mill of some sort. Turns out that this now disused Mill used to be the hub of the town. Here’s an extract from the Town Website.

Hopedale’s reputation as a town is mainly found in the Draper Corporation, producer of looms. The business started when Ebenezer Draper joined the community and built the first Draper Shop. The Draper era represents a unique study of the growth and development of a New England mill town. In its prime, over 3,000 people were employed there. In the late sixties, control of the Draper Corporation was passed to Rockwell International. Production ceased in the mid-seventies, thus closing the doors, not only to a building, but also to a period of history. Today, the abandoned and possibly polluted factory site dominates the center of town in its decay.

The Drapers believed that good houses make good workers and created a model self-contained company town with one of the best collections of architecturally significant double houses in the country, built on hills and in valleys in garden settings which preserved the views. And driving through Hopedale today, it certainly shows. It’s packed full of beautiful homes.

I visited the Curiosity Shop of Hopedale and this is where I met the lovely Joan, a senior volunteer. She was very welcoming and engaging. This was Not at all like your typical shopping experience. We chatted about the weather, about upcoming changes to the shop and about the lovely things on offer. While there, three other wonderful ladies came to shop and Joan managed to engage with all of us AND price new items. (Note to self – I hope I can be this amazing in my senior years!). I left a very satisfied customer, with Joan’s details in case there was something else I remember I needed, and a bag full of goodies. I went a bit mad on the patterns!

Next, it was off to the local church thrift shop – Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, still in Hopedale. There I found a small friendly group of volunteers having tea and organising the merchandise. As it was my first time there, one of the kind assistants, talked me through the layout and current offers. I don’t know why, but I again impressed. It was just enough interaction to make me want to buy something, but not so much that I felt like they were being pushy. I left with two great items. A Vintage London Fog coat and a Green Chianti bottle. Both in really excellent condition. They have a bag sale on the first Thursday of each month too. Definitely worth a visit.

The third and final stop was at the The Blessing Barn in Milford, MA. This is a local non profit store. I later found out that they have bag sales on Wednesdays and Saturdays- so definitely visit on those days. This is a larger warehouse style store and is well organised with room to get around with a shopping trolley. I do recommend you take one, as you never know what you’re going to find. You certainly don’t want to loose out on an item because you don’t have space.

Ok, I have to share this one little story…

I was once shopping in a Savers and saw a vintage sewing machine that I wanted, but I didn’t have room in my current shopping cart. I checked first that the person next to me wasn’t planning on buying it. As I was doing so, this lady looked over and smiled at me. I said out loud, ok I’m going to make some space in my trolley and get it. I literally walked to the next aisle to destash my breakables…. and you won’t believe what happened next. The same “smiley” lady, went to the sewing machine, investigaed it, picked it up and put it in her trolley. Yep, you snooze, you loose! Lesson learned, but I was a bit bitter about that poor shopping etiquette for a few days!

Back to Blessing Barn… This store has lots of items from housewares to clothes. There I found another vintage sewing machine (see it Karma is a good thing) for even less than the one I mourned for and a very cool vintage Fisher Price ViewFinder Globe!

Then I looked at the time– It was time to get home for the school run. I was having so much fun that I ran out of time. I totally enjoyed the day exploring a bit of Worcester county.

So what’s next for these finds? Well some are for my personal collection and rest will be for the Vintage Flicker store. I haven’t fully decided what fits in each category yet, but I’ll keep you posted. It’s a lot of fun meeting new people and finding vintage treasures. ESTY is such a great easy to navigate platform for sharing your eclectic Vintage and Handmade items. Try it out for FREE… Click Here to use my referral code and get 40 free listings!

Do you enjoy treasure hunting too? Any great finds? Let me know in the comments.

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