When you first walk through the red-bannered archway of Savvy Salvage Thrift, you are instantly greeted by the welcoming smile of owner Justice Barnes. An Orlando Native who moved to Tallahassee over 20 years ago to pursue his education in Business Administration, he has deep roots in many favorite local Tallahassee businesses. Justice worked with the owners of Black Dog Café to open and maintain the store and helped to open the only Sephora in all of Tallahassee, located at Governor’s Square mall. Three years ago, Justice took his retail knowledge and his business experience and decided to open his own store in partnership with his wife.
They knew that they wanted their business to be something that was necessary and accessible for the community, as well as something that they could grow with and for their family. More than anything though, they wanted to open a business that was good for the environment and the world. The fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world, second only to the oil industry. It contributes to microfibers and harmful dyes often ending up in rivers and oceans due to direct dumping from textile factories, and overall excessive water consumption occurs from growing cotton and dying clothes.
Believe it or not, the clothing production industry also contributes to greenhouse gases, accounting for 10% of global carbon emissions that come directly from the energy used during production, manufacturing and even transportation. Additionally, clothes, cotton, bricks and other products tend to come from sweatshops, which mostly affects developing countries. Sweatshops are also known to have unfair working wages and conditions, and even child labor. By providing clothes and other mass-produced products in his store for cheaper than on the sales market, Justice is keeping people from giving their money to companies that use sweatshops or overprice their products. For just $1 you can get a whole bag of clothes at Savvy, and that’s just one of the many low-cost deals they have!
Recently, Justice has also started to sell refurbished bikes and skateboards for prices that beat anything in chain stores. In doing so, he hopes to raise awareness of the harmful effects that plague the transportation industry as well. Cars consume energy before they are even produced through the creation of steel, rubber, glass and paints, which leaves a large carbon footprint. Not to mention the amount of fuel consumed by cars and trucks accounts for about one-fifth of all US carbon emissions; that’s 24 pounds of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere for every one gallon of gas in a car. Justice is in the process of ordering parts to be able to sell even more scooters and help make the city just a little greener.
Aside from all they do for the environment, Savvy Salvage has a personality, unlike any other place you’ve been to in Tallahassee. You can find anything from toys, books, book bags, shoes and even furniture, which Justice himself refinishes, all for unmatched prices. Savvy and its owners are changemakers in their community, making sure that everyone has what they need to make their lives just a little easier, a little better, without breaking the bank. This little store has a big message and an even bigger heart!
You can check out Justice and Savvy Salvage thrift on Facebook and Instagram at @SalvvySavageThrift for all of the cool products they have in stock and on-going projects! And don’t forget to visit them at 623 R Industrial Drive for a quick drop-in or on First Fridays! All photos courtesy of Humbert Torres.