Second hand stores, often referred to as “thrift” or “antique” stores, are stores that resell objects that were once owned by others. These businesses are quite plentiful in Oregon and can be found in most towns, and they all have their own interesting stories. These building hold objects you would never expect to find.
These stores are mostly run by small groups of people or even individuals. Sandy’s stores are no different, and this creates an interesting atmosphere. The antique and thrift stores in the town have to work together, especially with big businesses like Goodwill threatening to end the individual stores.
“Small business, the last thing we want to is compete with each other. We’re both on the same team which is to try and have successful businesses and to help each other out,” Picker’s Corner owner Manny Herrera said.
Rene’s Lucky Finds was founded in 2016. Rene’s, for most of its existence, has been a second job for the owner, Rene Southworth. Thrift stores, even with how plentiful they are, are still a small, and to an extent, risky business. Rene’s is a good example as it’s run by one person, leaving all the responsibility of the business on her.
But, in Sandy at least, they are doing well. Picker’s Corner opened in the midst of the pandemic during April of 2021. “It’s better than what I was expecting. I was nervous and scared because of Covid but it’s going a lot better than I expected it to,“ Herrera said.
This is probably due in part to their low prices. Chain stores like Goodwill have been criticized relentlessly for their prices increasing to almost standard store level pricing and to Herrera, second hand stores like the ones in Sandy area are nice changes in pace. Especially for items like jeans, something you would never find for $5 at a Goodwill, can be found at Picker’s.
While these sorts of stores are still businesses and naturally want to make money, they aren’t as profit focused or unchanging as the average corporate owned shop. They are all very open to haggling if you just talk with the sellers a bit. Picker’s Corner even hands out of items clothing to those in need, all of this makes shoplifters an infinitely more confusing concept.
“There’s really no reason you should steal from us because if you really need something that bad, we probably can take care of you,” Herrera said.
Now, this doesn’t mean everything is cheap, some items can even go into the hundreds. And items like video games past the Wii-era can certainly be victims of overpricing, but for the average person it is a lot cheaper than a standard store. Now, these aren’t the most well-known places, due in part to the small employee counts lead to less than grandiose marketing plans. But Rene’s has an interesting tactic of posting recently acquired items to Facebook.
Antique stores get a lot of different customers, but a lot of the buying stems from the elderly, and Facebook is a great way to reach them as it’s very popular with older people. Picker’s Corner goes for a different approach and elects to do giveaway raffles on Facebook. Because, again, that’s where most their demographic is gathered.
Now, the relative age of the establishments has led to them not being incredibly well known. But, establishments like the Barton Antique Mall show that even a business founded in 2015 can be known with a group of dedicated people. Positioned along Highway 224, it’s a bit hard to avoid, especially given its large size. Originally made up of antiques from deceased family members of the owner, Barton Antique Mall is an establishment run by 14 different families. (Because of this, the owner has elected not to share his name as to not represent all of the families).
This two story building, originally built in the 1920s, hosts a monumental amount of actual antiques for those interested. If you want Civil War weapons, a very old mini stove, or pins to support your favorite political candidate who lost 30 years ago, then this shop has got you set.
“It’s like a museum for sale,” the owner said. This is likely because of the owner’s “Find the need, fill the void” mentality. This is also the inspiration for the founding of Rene’s as she created the business to replace the shop that closed down in Estacada. You can find so truly weird, and truly impressive finds at stores like these, and you may be surprised just how much you can find for yourself at one of these stores.