Local thrift stores offer a variety of affordable items

Cathy Twito, Tami Hicks and Mike Sulc, all active in their local religious communities, are the co-owners and founders of Overflow Thrift Store. They hope to donate at least 50 percent of each month’s revenue to three separate ministries.

Adam Logsdon

Thrifting is a very popular activity for students to do on a budget. You can get everything you need at one of these stores for a lower price than you would have paid for the original at a department store. While it may take a little bit of searching, the experience is worth it, and Ames has several options for those who are looking to save some money.


Overflow’s motto is “Clean, cute, creative.”

Located off Duff Avenue, Overflow offers a wide variety of clothing and home goods. Out of the stores covered, this store has the cheapest clothing, with the most expensive item being around $10.

Ashley Mowrer, executive director of Overflow, centers her business around service rather than commerce. She said Overflow’s mission is to offer affordable goods for the community and to make their products accessible to a wider range of people.

Mowrer said Overflow contributes its proceeds toward the betterment of people in Iowa. They donate to organizations like Wings of Refuge, an organization that helps women getting out of sex trafficking and Matthew 25 House, a program helping men get acquainted to society after being in prison.

Since Overflow is operated by a Christian organization, it is closed Sunday. They are also closed Monday to set a day aside where they can reorganize the store to make it the easiest shopping experience for their customers.

Salvation Army

Salvation Army is a great place to shop for a wide variety of items and makes good use of its large space.

Located off of Lincoln Way by the East Hy-Vee, they use a weekly tag deal for extra promotion. Each week a certain color tag is chosen for an additional 50% off the current tag price. They also do additional deals based off inventory. At the end of the spring semester and the beginning of the fall semester, they do an additional 50% off all furniture.

Jessi Betts assistant manager for Salvation Army, said they get product all the time from different stores.

“Target sends discontinued items to our store, and we have a deal with them, and whatever we sell we pay them a certain percentage of what the product sells for,” Betts said.

Much like Overflow, they also assist in different organizations to better the community. They donate apparel to third world countries and work with drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers.


Considered a staple of thrifting, Goodwill is exceedingly popular. Located on Lincoln Way next to the West Hy-Vee, the store is very popular among the high school and college age students in Ames. The variety of apparel draws students to come to Goodwill.

Scott Krause and Maggy Muller, Ames community members, said they go to Goodwill mainly to look for clothing. Krause said Goodwill is a good place to look for vintage items.

“As of right now, [I’m looking for] older looking things,” Krause said. “Right now the vibe is like 80s dad at a barbeque.”

Muller said she prefers shopping at Goodwill above all other thrift stores because of its layout.

“It is much more organized, and they have a wider variety of options,” Muller said.

Much like Salvation Army, Goodwill also utilizes the weekly tag deal, however the store only includes apparel items with this deal. This store has open business hours, contributing to the store’s success because they are one of the few thrift stores in Ames that is open seven days a week.

The Loft

Thrifting is incredibly difficult sometimes. A lot of items people look for is current or name brand apparel, The Loft makes it easy. They look for current and well-preserved apparel, and it’s also a place where one can go find name brand products

Holly Eide, manager of The Loft said the store looks for good quality in the clothing brought in and her staff researches and try to keep the clothing in the store only for the past four years.

Amy Abrams, owner of The Loft, said the hardest thing for her staff is rejecting clothing that is brought to them.

“There are a lot of items that we have to turn away,” Abrams said. “There are consigners that get frustrated because there are some clothes that we are unable to take.” 

While this can be a problem for The Loft, the store continues to maintain a steady stream of products. Unlike the other stores on the list, The Loft is a consignment store, meaning people who bring their clothes in see some of the profits.

“Not being able to fit all of the stuff we have on the floor is big,” Abrams said, “We have over 10,000 consigners so we have definitely become known.”