Shopping with a Purpose: A thrift store tour of Spokane


by Phoebe Droz


Buying fair trade clothes is expensive and unrealistic to do in many cities, however, an alternative to fair trade is shopping at thrift stores. There is a growing population of “thrift store tourists,” tourists not looking for regular retail shopping, comments NBC San Diego’s Consumer Bob. Spokane has some good thrift stores to share with locals and tourists alike who are looking to responsibly purchase clothing.


Thrift stores sell used clothes, and although the proceeds do not go toward foreign aid and empowerment (as fair trade products do), thrift stores do contribute to local organizations who are striving to help those within the country that are struggling.


thrift map


Teen Challenge Thrift Store is found in a small strip mall on Ash. “This store has earned a place on my thrifting route. Prices are among the best in Spokane,” writes Linda Jacquot in an online review. Wandering through $10 couches, racks of sweaters for under $7, and shirts for sometimes under $3, affirms this point. The store, while dimly lit is a thrifter’s dream—it is a small space crammed full of inexpensive items.


When you make purchases at Teen Challenge Thrift Store, you are supporting an organization that is changing the lives of people who have life controlling problems. Money from the thrift store is given to a program that strives to help people become “mentally sound, emotionally balanced, socially adjusted, physically well, and spiritually alive,” explained their website. When you buy clothes and furniture at the store for those inexpensive prices, that money is filtered back into the organization that is striving to help people heal and become more productive members of society.


Start here because of the low prices:

Teen Challenge Thrift

2006 N Ash St.

Spokane, WA 99205


Monday – Sunday: 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.



The walls of Global Neighborhood Thrift are gray, large signs with white letters hang from the ceiling marking “men’s,” “women’s,” “household,” and “furniture.” The racks of clothing are organized by clothing type, size, then color, and shoes sit above each rack of clothes organized by size. There are rows and rows of shoes worn and practically new, all ready to be bought at the weekly Tuesday shoe sale, that Amanda Lucht comments in an online review, is the reason she keeps coming back.


GN Thrift works closely with the refugee population of Spokane. They provide “former refugees with a 6 month job training program,” explained GN Thrift founder and director Brent Hendricks. But the organization offers much more than just a job. According to their website they provide “holistic development.” This holistic development is three parts: employment, education and empowerment. When connected with Global Neighborhood Thrift, refugees are given a job, and with this job comes a sort of self-sufficiency that is dignifying and allows for stability. Jobs through GN Thrift allow “refugees to get an understanding of the job culture in the United States,” and also have “a reference for jobs following their employment” at GN Thrift, commented Hendricks.


Go here for “Shoesday Tuesday:”

Global Neighborhood Thrift

902 W Indiana Ave

Spokane, WA 99205


Monday –Saturday: 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Sunday: Closed



Previously named the Classy Rack, Union Gospel Mission Thrift Store, sits on the corner of Boone and Calispel. The ceilings are high, with large signs marking the different sections of the vast store. The store is divided into two sections. The front section dedicated to men, woman, and children’s clothing and shoes and the back half of the store dedicated to books, dishes, furniture, and miscellaneous items (i.e. rubber stamps, wall hangings, artificial flowers). The floors are clean, the racks organized, and the place busy with the chatter of shoppers and employees going about their business.


Behind the scenes, this thrift store provides money to different Union Gospel Mission outreach programs that are all over Spokane. These include a men’s shelter and recovery program, women’s recovery at Anna Ogden Hall, and a crisis center for woman and children. As well as funding the various missions that they have going on in Spokane, they employ clients of the recovery programs and other people in transition from things like work release.


Go here for a huge selection of items:

Union Gospel Mission

301 W Boone Ave

Spokane, WA 99201


Monday – Friday: 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Saturday: 9:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Sunday: Closed



NBC San Diego commented, “you spend so much money on vacations, it’s nice to visit some places where you can save a little money.” Thrift shopping has become a trend in the United States, but is also growing as a travel trend. When traveling in the pacific northwest, and wishing to help a little at an affordable price, support Spokane through Teen Challenge Thrift Store, GN Thrift, and UGM Thrift.

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