This thrift crawl takes you through the best thrift stores in Burnaby and New West
The thrift crawl event showcases the various causes the six stores, located in Burnaby and New Westminster, are fundraising for.
This article was written by Ria Renouf, managing editor of the New West Anchor. If you want to support more great journalism from the Beacon’s sister publication, subscribe to the Anchor here.
Imagine taking home more than just the treasures you’ve managed to snag from your adventures at your local thrift store—all while supporting great initiatives.
Six stores in New Westminster and Burnaby are taking part in a thrift crawl, happening now until Aug. 15. The event is easily integrated into your thrifting experience.
“You get a stamp card—you can pick them up from any of our location—and then you go to each one and get them stamped. You then get the opportunity to win prizes. Every store has a basket valued at $20, and then a grand prize to win $120,” says Isabel Barros, executive director of the BASES Family Thrift Store. The $120 includes $20 to spend at each location.
“Our first crawl happened before the pandemic hit,” Barros adds, noting that some people are unaware of all the great causes each location supports. Hosting a crawl allows folks to get acquainted with their local shops, get up close and personal with unique goods, and take a stroll down memory lane.
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What organizations and causes do each of these stores support?
- BASES Family Thrift Store: Provides funding for after-school elementary and high school programs in New West and Burnaby.
- New to You Thrift Store: Supports various Royal Columbian Hospital initiatives, including the hospital patient care branch. Funds raised can help pay for clothes, renal belts, baby clothing, and hospital equipment.
- St. Barnabas Thrift Store: This thrift store raises funds for its local church community initiatives, with money going towards grocery hampers and fresh food for those in need.
- Treasure Chest: All funds raised from this New West thrift store go towards the Canadian Mental Health Association.
- SPCA Thrift Store: Your purchases from this shop help animals in need.
- Burnaby Hospice Society Thrift Store: This store supports hospice palliative care, and is responsible for about 65% of the hospice’s revenue.
“Thrift stores are a great way to get away, to chill out, have a little bit of care [for yourself], and to see if you do find a treasure. I often have conversations with a lot of members who are regulars,” Barros says, noting that the atmosphere is never a rushed one. “You’ll have items from different eras; things that’ll make you smile or relive the past.”
Barros says sometimes volunteers will put out an item in the store for people to guess what it is, which can also be a fun experience. Sometimes the prizes will range from a discount or even getting the item for free.
“There was this one item, and it ended up ”being a cat toy. It looked like some kind of puzzle…and we realized the cat had to knock the food out of the toy,” Barros says with a laugh.
Ultimately, Barros hopes people will enjoy themselves and get to know the locals who run these shops. While there are hired staff at many of these locations, Barros says most are run by volunteers who live in the area. “It is definitely for a good cause, but we’re also here to help you have fun.”
Top tips for enjoying a thrift crawl:
- Bring your own bags. Some places will charge you for a bag, and some places have moved completely away from offering plastic. Keep things green by bringing your own reusable bags.
- Know the routes. Whether you’re taking transit or your own vehicle, plan out your day accordingly. Don’t forget to take stops for snacks and/or lunch, and if you take your own vehicle, consider carpooling. Thrifting is fun with friends!
- Have an open mind. Thrift stores will often get an array of donations, so Barros says it’s always fun to come in expecting “randomness.”
- Ask if you don’t know what the item is. Barros says many of the stores have volunteers from a variety of backgrounds and experiences, so if one person doesn’t know the answer to something, odds are someone else will.