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Secondhand America: Clark Community Thrift Store

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.

Worcester's Clark Community Thrift Store is exactly the type of secondhand shop you hope to find in a small city. It's intimate and personal, filled with great finds, and there's plenty of room for college students (who man the cash registers) and locals alike. Run by nearby Clark University, the shop funnels proceeds into the school's sustainability efforts.

When I went, Halloween was just around the corner, which meant that costumes and decor were everywhere. I totally should have nabbed a Samurai costume for $3, or a "sexy" crime scene investigator costume for $5. But instead I focused on the more universal goods, which have uniform pricing: piles of $5 sweaters, racks and racks of $7 dresses, quirky jewels for $2 a pop, plus tops for $4 and bottoms for $6. There are $5 shoes littered around the shop. My best finds? A corset-backed black velour dress (which ended up being a part of my Halloween costume anyway), a black-and-yellow striped sweater, a beaded bracelet and ultra-cool beaded leaf pin. Yet I left the shop only slightly poorer.

What makes the Clark Community so special? You're sharing space with all of Worcester's residents, including the giggling pals behind the register. We love an anonymous, expansive thrift shop so much, but there really is something so special about an intimate place like this one.

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.

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