A thrifty urban teacher marries a web developer with a lot of heart and they live happily ever after in Memphis, Tennessee. They, like many newlyweds, must properly outfit their nest, but being a teacher and a web developer for a non-profit, the funds are…limited. “Where do they go?” you’re asking yourself, “Where will they find inexpensive furniture and décor with style that reflects their creativity and passion for life?”
I, being the thrifty teacher, asked myself that very same question. With affection for thrifting, garage sale-ing, and antiquing, the answer was clear: get inspired, pack a snack, clear out the trunk, and hit Summer Avenue.
First stop: Antique Warehouse Mall, 2563 Summer Ave.
The Antique Warehouse Mall is a one-story building the size of a small grocery store full of vendors selling antique and vintage house wares, furniture, clothing and accessories. These vendors have an eye for pieces that tell stories of the past in the most inspiring ways. Each booth transports you to a new decade, down to the very last detail. With all of the framed art, retro décor, and gorgeous furniture, I knew I would find something (or too many things!) for our place. I left with a framed owl print reminiscent of the Mid-Century Modern period ($10), inspiration, and a long wish list!
Just down the road: Bargain Depot, 3255 Summer Ave.
If it’s furniture you’re after, Bargain Depot should be on your list of places to check out. The store sells a combination of new and slightly used furniture, mostly modern pieces with a few vintage pieces here and there. The store specializes in living room sets and offers dining room furniture and a variety of lamps. The store’s owner, Ahmad, is helpful and friendly, always willing to work out a good deal and strike up a conversation. I sat in an armchair at his desk my first visit just to chat! I also snagged two tweed accent chairs for our little nest, $15 each. Thanks, Ahmad!
Then…Thrift Citi, 3382 Summer Ave.
Thrift Citi is an iconic Summer Avenue thrift store with merchandise ranging from clothes and accessories to furniture and appliances. Thirft Citi has become a regular on my list of Summer thrifting because it has such a wide range of home décor and furniture. It’s a true treasure hunter’s paradise with corky finds (see hound dog statuette below), unique lamps and solid furniture. Expect variety and good deals!
Ok, eat that snack, but the search must continue: Second Time Around Flea Market 3437 Summer Ave.
So I know I’ve been saying the search along the way has been a “treasure hunt,” but for real…we’ve come to a point in our journey where proper diving gear is required because we’re officially diving headfirst into thrifted goods. Second Time Around Flea Market is the most unique thrift store I’ve explored this side of the Mississippi with its narrow passageways and stacked-ceiling-high-merchandise. As soon as you approach the tiny storefront, the store’s staff greets you with a sincere smile, offering assistance for what they know will be an adventure. Don’t be afraid to dig, climb or walk all the way to the back of the store to find that perfect piece of art, chair, or one-of-a-kind treasure. Wheelin’ and dealin’ is the name of the game at STAFM, no price tags here.
Right around the corner: Chip ‘N’ Dales Antique Mall, 3457 Summer Ave.
This place is full of so many true antique gems. If early century furniture is what you’re looking for, you won’t be disappointed. Like all great antique malls, Chip ‘N’ Dales does a phenomenal job of honing in on a time period and providing quality options in furniture and décor. The store consists mostly of fascinating wall art and unique furniture pieces that are sure to be a conversation piece in your (not so humble anymore) abode.
Last stop: Disabled American Veterans/Buried Treasures 3440 Summer Ave.
As we come to a close on our Summer Avenue Thrifting adventure (for now), we must not forget “Buried Treasures,” more commonly known as the Disabled Veterans Thrift Store. This shop once offered clothing and furniture, but has most recently made room for more furniture, making this place a must visit for those looking for a deal on just about anything “home.” The DAV Thrift Store sells anything from dressers to dining room tables and chairs, to coffee tables and lamps (lots of lamps). If you’ve got your eye on something, don’t be afraid to chat with the store’s staff and make your best offer.
If you’re looking for even more thrift shopping spots in Memphis check these out:
- Found Memphis (Broad Ave)
- 901 of a Kind (Broad Ave)
- Bingham and Broad (Broad Ave)
- Merchants on Broad (Broad Ave)
- Flashback (Midtown)
- Second Hand Rose (Midtown)
- Red Velvet Vintage (Downtown)
- Broken Arrow (Downtown)
- South Front Antiques (Downtown)