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A Beginner’s Guide to Gainesville Thrift Shops

Coming to Gainesville as a freshman in January, I was surprised by the number of thrift shops and events that were available here. The first night that I was here, my friend spontaneously asked me if I wanted to go thrifting at an event called Bazar A La Carte. On that chilly January night, I remember seeing all the different vendors, picking out pieces for each other and having a miniature photo shoot in front of the building on one of those old kid rides you’d find in a suburban mall. 

For me, thrifting not only allowed me to adopt more healthy and sustainable retail therapy habits, but it also allowed me to meet and bond with new people over the unique pieces that I’d find. As a new Gainesville resident at the time, that helped me feel more welcome in this new environment. Now that more people are returning and coming to campus, I want to share some of my favorite Gainesville thrift shops and events so that you can enjoy these treasures in your home away from home! 

The Florida Vintage Market 

If I’m going to tell you about my favorite thrift events, I have to tell you about The Florida Vintage Market. Rotating between Gainesville and Orlando, the market routinely returns once a month with different vendors, allowing you to find unique items each time. With each return, the market is open from noon to 5 p.m., but if you want to find the best gems, go early! It’s no exaggeration when I say I can easily spend the entire five hours rummaging through each vendor’s $5 bins, scouring the racks and discovering the best tiny gems. Keep up with them on their social media (specifically Instagram and Facebook), and mark your calendars for October 10 for their Gainesville return!   

The How Bazar

Located at the Seagle Building, The How Bazar is a vintage staple in the heart of Gainesville. The fun, eclectic atmosphere that welcomes you when you open the doors is like no other. I will always open my wallet to buy a new cardigan or vest from them. 

The How Bazar also hosts their regular weekend market Bazar A La Carte, where they will host a night market on Saturday nights, beginning at 4 p.m. and lasting until 10 p.m.. Then on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m., they hold a day market with multiple vendors, live music and delicious food. If you’re ever looking to fulfill your retail therapy needs and want some good vibes, The How Bazar is definitely one to check out! 

Flashbacks Recycled Fashions

If you’re ever looking for niche, savvy retro or vintage pieces, Flashbacks is definitely a staple to add to your vintage repertoire. Instantly when you open the door, you’re greeted by a giant table filled with the most intricate and captivating accessories, from edgy, intricately detailed stainless steel rings that make you feel like you’re in a metal band to vintage earrings that are to die for. 

Also, don’t forget to check out their specific retro section, which is organized by decade and era. You never know what gems you may find, and yes, I’m talking about those gorgeous 1950s handbags that make you feel like you’re straight out of an “I Love Lucy” episode. 

Lastly, if you do prefer to shop from the comfort of your bed or couch, Flashbacks does have an online store that will show you the latest pieces in stock. 

The Repurpose Project 

If you’re trying to look for more knick-knacks, fun, niche items or perhaps materials for your next project, The Repurpose Project is for you! They specialize in donations that are not typically found in most thrift stores. The Repurpose Project is a non-profit that truly dedicates its efforts to the promotion of reusing and, of course, repurposing items so that they can live another life for more to enjoy, and so that these items do not end up in overflowing landfills. If you’re further interested in The Repurpose Project and its efforts, you can volunteer with them and help Gainesville be more sustainable one item at a time!  

The Thrift Club @ UF

One last thrifting community you should check out if you’re new to Gainesville is UF’s very own Thrift Club! Especially when you may live on campus or don’t have frequent access to a car, thrifting in Gainesville can be quite difficult. However, the UF Thrift Club often holds virtual upcycling workshops and on-campus clothing swaps. If you want to learn how to get more into thrifting, learn how to thrift flip or just want to meet a like-minded group of individuals that love thrifting, the UF Thrift Club is just for you!

Maddy Gastador is a first-year chemistry major and Spanish minor at the University of Florida. Whenever she's not writing, you can catch her binge-watching Netflix, baking cookies, painting, attempting to be a plant mom, or obsessing over BTS. You can get to know her more through Instagram @mxdeleine.c
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