Provo thrift stores encourage people to be thrifty for themselves and the planet

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Get Thrifty store manager Shay Willis models a hat and necklace from the store’s massive hat and jewelry inventory. (Makenna Romeril)

Molecular biology student Savannah Hughes walks through campus wearing high rise denim jeans, combat boots and a green corduroy climber’s jacket. On other days she can be seen wearing vintage chinos, lurid sweaters, mandarin collar button-downs, big flannel shirts and ’90s sweater vests.

Where does Hughes procure such trendy outfits? She’s a thrifter.

“I love getting my clothes at thrift shops,” Hughes said. “For me, thrifting isn’t just about my budget — it’s about making a fashion statement.” 

Thrift shops across Provo welcome patrons who want to not only catch a good deal but also to find an outfit that makes them stand out. Trends in thrift shopping are leaning less towards saving money and more toward being eco-friendly and creating an iconic look.

Hughes’ thrifting hobby not only extends to herself, but to the climate as well.

“I want to be eco-friendly, so I purchase clothing that would most likely contribute to landfills,” Hughes said. 

Thrift stores are jumping on the eco-friendly bandwagon as well. Get Thrifty co-owners Hollee and Spencer Colby, for example, value doing their part to help the environment.

“Thrown-away clothing hurts the environment,” Hollee Colby said. “When you bunch about 50 shirts together, that can get really heavy. Most of the weight from landfills and garbage masses in the ocean comes from clothing.”

Her husband, Spencer Colby, added that the store allows clients to create their own specific styles.

“Our store is for everyone, but we especially want to cater to those people that shop at thrift stores because it helps them create a unique look for themselves. Whether you just want to buy old clothes or you want to create that look, we want to provide that for our customers,” Spencer Colby said.

Spencer and Hollee Colby started Get Thrifty in 2018 after noticing the corporate model that many thrift stores have adopted.

“We’re trying to break the mold of a stereotypical thrift store by making a hometown kind of feel to the store,” Spencer Colby said.

Additionally, Get Thrifty features an expansive collection of vintage vinyl records and tapes.

“I have a big inventory of random stuff here at Get Thrifty,” Spencer Colby said. “But with the record and tape collection, I can keep up with stores that exclusively sell those things.”

Spencer Colby explained that while many thrift stores are attached to charities, Get Thrifty is a for-profit organization.

Get Thrifty store manager Shay Willis helps customer Mary Wall. (Makenna Romeril)

Pak Rat’s, another Provo thrift store, is also trying to create a unique business model. Manager Chris Gurr said Pak Rat’s offers the typical thrift shop experience but also has household appliances such as washers and dryers.

He also said he’s always excited to find out what kind of inventory he’ll get in his store.

“Going to auctions is a great experience, and I think that’s why people love thrifting — you never know what you’ll find there,” Gurr said.

Gurr maintained that discount prices and the experience itself are what keep people thrifting.

“You can’t beat the price when it comes to a thrift shop. The experience of walking into a thrift store and seeing all the stuff there makes it more than just what you see,” he said.

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