The best thrift shops in Kitchener-Waterloo

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As Generation Z (and some Millennials) continue to adopt TikTok as their main form of social media, certain trends continue to become prolific on the app.  

In 2022, one of these trends is “ThriftTok” – a section of TikTok obsessed with finding the best eco conscious thrifting finds. A major supporter of shopping local and second-hand clothing, ThriftTok has had a massive positive impact on a global scale.  

In the Kitchener-Waterloo Region, there are many locations where savvy and eco-conscious shoppers can find great thrift finds. Many are in close proximity to the university and feature accessible prices.  

The first (likely known by many Laurier students) is Luster and Oak. Located in the heart of Downtown Waterloo at 2 King Street West, Luster and Oak will be a hit for any thrifters who love 90s/early 2000s fashion. Also featuring an online shopping option, Luster and Oak is accessible – even if you’re not in Waterloo.  

Next comes May Court Consignment – located in Belmont Village in Kitchener at 714 Belmont Avenue West, May Court has trending thrift options of 3 years of age or newer. Supporting local charities in the region, May Court is an essential store in Kitchener-Waterloo. In addition, all purchases at the shop are tax-free – what’s not to love? 

For those who frequent Downtown Kitchener, Thrift on Kent can be found at 50 Kent Avenue. Featuring both clothing and other second hand items (such as books and furniture), Thrift on Kent has great appeal to students looking for affordable decor for their dorms. In addition, the shop is a non-profit – all proceeds supporting the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC).  

Last but not least is YW Thrift Boutique. Located at 102 King Street West, the boutique, while not a vendor of clothing, sells second hand and new accessories and shoes. Like others mentioned on this list, YW Thrift Boutique is making a large impact on the community. Another charitable retailer, 100% of the proceeds from the boutique goes to “programming for women, gender diverse people and girls in our community”. Like Luster and Oak, YW Thrift Boutique has an online shop making them accessible to all thrifters.  

With sustainability being a priority for Laurier, Laurier students should also do their part in helping the effort to reduce the impacts of climate change. While it may feel like only shopping second hand is not enough, it is a sustainable action that is easy for individuals to pick up and maintain. In addition, with many students needing to pinch pennies in an increasingly expensive economy, thrifting is affordable. 

In addition, with many retailers on this list putting money back into local charities, thrifters can feel good about where their money is going – back into their community where it will help those in need. While big thrifting stores like Value Village promote that they also do charitable work, supporting local thrift stores helps consumers see actual changes in their community due to their shopping choices. Yes, there is a place for both kinds of thrift store – but shopping locally should be our top priority.  

ThriftTok has it right – thrifting is the way of the future. Want to be ahead of the trends or not fall prey to them? Choose to thrift and find your own unique style – that is true sustainability.  

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