Secondhand America: The Second Hand Shop
America's wealth of secondhand stores is not exactly a secret, but it it can be pretty intimidating in its vastness. Follow our writer as she tip-toes through junk, browses the shelves of antique malls and bargains with vintage brokers, reporting back on just what makes our resale shops so damn good.
While we could celebrate Geneva, New York for its proximity to Seneca Lake—besides being the largest of the state's lovely Finger Lakes, it's also known as the trout capital of the world—this is a thrifting column, so we'll chat about a really awesome local used-goods store instead. The Second Hand Shop, on Geneva's Castle Street, is a spacious, multilevel emporium of well-loved items, ripe for the picking. The shop itself is vintage enough, what with wood-paneled walls, a relatively creepy two-room basement section and an elevator that can only be operated by a designated operator (i.e., not the average customer). There's a definite focus on home-goods (though there are also clothes!). Which makes it feel a bit like an awesome, shoppable grandma's house.
The overwhelming abundance of home decor items and kitchen goods will hit you first: you can find lots of dish sets (one with wheat illustrations—gravy boat included—is just $39), massive vases for $20 and under, and a random glass banana for $3. There are also rustic metal and wood candlesticks for $5 a pair, baskets of seashells for $.50 each, and pretty lamps for under $100. Not in the mood for bric-a-brac or tchotchkes? Head to the clothing section for a browse, or down to the basement for furniture deals. Nab a fluffy couch, a $39 filing cabinet, or a cute half-circle side table for $29.
Don't miss the tables of $.10 goodies—mostly drinking glasses but also other weirdly awesome random things—the rows of National Geographic for $.50 an issue, and the surprisingly thoughtful cookbook section.
We're definitely going to go with thrifting over trout fishing in Geneva every time.
Freelance writer Alison Baitz (who has also written for Bust and Refinery29) is so excited that she got to visit thrift stores and antique malls as part of her job.
19 E. Castle St., Geneva, NY 14456
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