Thursday, August 18, 2011

Local Austin Shopping

The boyfriend is sick this week.  The man is health personified, so it always throws our world into a minor uproar when he's the least bit under the weather.  He even took day off to recuperate.  The extra sleeping worked wonders, but it also gave me access to the car.

We're a one-car family.  Mostly because it makes economical sense.  I'm not working (fingers crossed that will change soon), so it was a lot of expense we could easily cut.  However, since the move, we're a lot farther away from the boyfriend's job.  Which means a lot of travelling if I want to use the car for the day.  So I generally keep the errands short, close, and for his days off.  They still generally involve the boyfriend and our kids accompanying me, so a day I can use the car by myself to just drive around is pretty luxurious.

I used this rare opportunity to check out some local Austin businesses I had heard about or noticed, but never dragged the family to before.  Of course, I also stopped by some of my favorite thrifting spots - but they didn't have anything good, so I'll skip them.  And I didn't take pictures.  My cellphone camera sucks, so I would actually have to take out a camera and snap pictures - which seems fairly dorky.  So, this will just be my reviews and some pics I dug up online.

First off was Plush, a fabric store in Cedar Park.

It was like heaven.  I love fabric stores.  Not that I can sew.  I just love fabric.  Despite being about a quarter of the size of my local Hancock Fabric, Plush has about ten times the selection.  In addition to the yardage on hand, the walls are lined four and five deep with fabric books.  Their prices weren't cheap, but fell in line with prices I've seen online.  They had lots of the more affordable designer labels - kind of similar to what Calico Corners must stock I'm guessing (never been to a Calico Corners).  And their service seemed really excellent.  They kept checking on me during my (long) stay - in a nice, helpful way, not a pushy way.  Totally recommend and will definitely be buying from them in the future.

Next, I made my way into town towards Burnet Road - which is a long, but centralized furniture-buying area of Austin.  I love the mix of big chains and small mom-and-pop places.

Interior Fabrics - had a nice selection and good prices (similar to Hancock/JoAnn's).  However, their service was a disappointment.  I was in there for about 20 minutes, at a time when there was roughly an employee for every customer, and I wasn't greeted once.  I'm not the kind of shopper that wants a lot of hand holding as I walk around the store, but even the people at Goodwill tell me hello when I walk in. 

Next-to-New comes highly recommended from various online sources.  It's a thrift store run by St. David's Episcopal Church, so I imagined it would be similar to a St. Vincent de Paul store.  Wrong.  They do a lot of estate sales, and the store kind of felt like an estate sale.  It had lots of really great stuff in good condition, but everything seemed overpriced.  Lots of furniture - so that's a plus.

They have a pricing system that lists the original price, then what it will be about in about a month, and then what it will be a month after that.  So there are the chances of scoring good if you can get it on the right date.  As any thrift store, the contents probably change out a lot, but it definitely seemed geared towards an older, more traditional clientele.  They did have some very unique pieces, so if you are looking for stuff for your house, it's a good choice.  However, I was looking for junk to redo, so I didn't buy anything.

Lastly, I stopped at Second Hand Store.  The clearly used furniture displayed outside held promise.  The owner, Johnny, was busy helping some customers when I arrived, but he greeted me and I was able to look around for a while.  I was excited about the items there - mostly wood furniture that could use some fixing up.  Unfortunately, most of the prices were out of my fix-it-up-and-sell-it budget.  Although, like Next-to-New, if you are planning on buying something for yourself, he had lots to choose from, including some really cool pieces that you don't usually find in Austin thrift stores.

A Project Here...A Project There
I considered buying a set of black bentwood chairs ($35 each) since he had 6, but they would have been for keeps, so I passed.  Then I thought about buying them for resale, but it was such a gamble because I have no idea what they are worth.  I'm still hoping to stumble upon a set for much less at a garage sale.

This store had a very lovely "junk store" feel to it.  The owner seemed happy to negotiate prices (knocking $20 off the total price for the customers before me who bought a couple of items and paying my tax).  His business card has the phone number and "Keep Trying" below it.  Definitely a good place to visit.  I ended up buying a cabinet to refinish for $25 - I'm hoping on turning it into a media console.  But that's a post for another day.

1 comment:

  1. I love fabric stores too...even though I can't sew either. LOL I can only imagine how much fun you had out on your own for the day. :)

    Can't wait to see what you bought.