Rounding up some of Fort Smith's thrift stores and vintage markets

·4 min read

Whether you are new to the thrifting world or a seasoned veteran, nothing quite beats the thrill of finding the unexpected hiding on a shelf or hanging from a rack of vintage clothing.

Luckily for Fort Smith residents, there is no shortage of thrift stores and vintage markets in the city.

Monique Wilkins at her store on Monday, Jan. 10. Wilkins handpicks all of the items that go into her shop.
Monique Wilkins at her store on Monday, Jan. 10. Wilkins handpicks all of the items that go into her shop.

Nikki's Thriftd Treasures

1915 Towson Ave, Fort Smith 479-283-0284

Nestled in the middle of a building on Towson Ave. is the amalgamation of Monique Wilkins' love for unique items and years of collecting.

From vibrant 1980s era windbreakers to eclectic home pieces the little shop is full of items Wilkins hand-picked herself.

Wilkins' journey with thrifting started in the early 2010s and has taken many forms over the years, including working from a storage unit and her own garage. Looking for the perfect items was a mix of therapy and her love for fashion and vintage items.

"Every item has a story," Wilkins said. "I love old things."

Nikki's Thriftd Treasures found its home on Towson Ave. around two years ago and has officially been open a year, Wilkins said.

One of her favorite parts of running the store is seeing people enjoy what she has collected and finding what speaks to them.

Nikki's Thriftd Treasures is currently open by appointment. Those wanting to stop by the store can give  Wilkins a call at 479-283-0248.
Nikki's Thriftd Treasures is currently open by appointment. Those wanting to stop by the store can give Wilkins a call at 479-283-0248.

"Every unique item has its own person, every person has their own unique item," Wilkins said.

Wilkins said there is a lot of thrifters in Fort Smith, and that she also sees quite a few visitors from out of town.

"A lot of people like to thrift, it's affordable," Wilkins said. "And you never know what you're going to find – it's a treasure hunt."

Nikki's Thriftd Treasures is currently open by appointment, customers can set up a time to shop by calling the store.

Purple Patch

1224 Towson Ave, Fort Smith 479-783-7878

Some of the inventory available at the Purple Patch on Tuesday, Jan. 11. On Thursdays, every item over $1 is 50% off, and the store hosts flash sales they promote on Facebook.
Some of the inventory available at the Purple Patch on Tuesday, Jan. 11. On Thursdays, every item over $1 is 50% off, and the store hosts flash sales they promote on Facebook.

Since its founding in 2010 by Susan and Mark Hooks, the Purple Patch has worked to serve the community.

All of the proceeds from the thrift store benefit The STEPS, Inc. The nonprofit’s Family Resource Center hosts a visitation space, mental health counseling and classes on topics including parenting, life skills and anger management.

The store is home to a little bit of everything and draws in a steady crowd, from newcomers to regulars, Store Manager Brandi Harris said.

"You meet some really good people," Harris said. "There are really good people that you just want to see succeed and get back on their feet."

In connection with The STEPS Inc. family programs, the store provides $25 vouchers for families who complete two hours of volunteer work.

The store is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This N' That

1622 Dodson Ave, Fort Smith 479-782-7641

This N' That is located at 1622 Dodson Ave. The shop is open Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
This N' That is located at 1622 Dodson Ave. The shop is open Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

What's better than a good shopping trip? Knowing that what you spent is helping others.

The shop was started by the then Women's Board of Sparks Regional Medical Center. This N' That is now operated through the Baptist Women's Health Auxiliary and sales are donated toward the needs of patients.

This N' That has been a staple in the community since October 2003, co-manager Cherie Percifield said.

Some of the glass and ceramic items available at This N' That on Monday, Jan. 10. Proceeds from the store go to helping patients at Baptist Health Fort Smith.
Some of the glass and ceramic items available at This N' That on Monday, Jan. 10. Proceeds from the store go to helping patients at Baptist Health Fort Smith.

Over the years, proceeds from the store have gone to a variety of things including covering mammogram costs for patients, buying wheelchairs and creating a picnic area at the plaza, Percifield said.

From old records to beautiful glass pieces, the shop has a little bit of everything.

The store is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Designer Again

6 N 3rd St, Fort Smith 479-782-8313

Designer Again in downtown Fort Smith has been a go-to for many community members since the early 1990s. The store offers just about anything a customer could want, from vintage dishes to video games.
Designer Again in downtown Fort Smith has been a go-to for many community members since the early 1990s. The store offers just about anything a customer could want, from vintage dishes to video games.

For many who stop by Designer Again on the search for that perfect item, it is a bit of a family tradition.

"Some of these people have literally shopped here (for years)," owner Terri Drosopoulos said. "They remember their parents bringing them here."

Since 1991, Designer Again has been dedicated to giving community members a place to shop and sell merchandise while promoting reuse and recycling.

"We try to help people save money and make money," owner Terri Drosopoulos said.

Drosopoulos said one of the things she thinks draws people to the story is there is always something new and unique.

"You see a lot of interesting things, a lot of vintage things," Drosopoulos said.

One of the perks of working in the thrifting world is the community that comes with it.

"We're not in competition with each other," Drosopoulos said. "Everything in here is different. The chances of them having something exactly identical would be rare."

Designer Again is open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Other stores around Fort Smith

Attic: 615 N. Greenwood Ave., 479-434-6300

Olen & Co. Market: 11 N. 3rd St., 479-551-2559

Belle Starr Antiques & Vintage Market: 410 N B St., 479-226-3131

Veteran's Thrift Town: 3500 Jenny Lind Rd # B, 479-783-7225

Second Time Around Thrift Shop: 910 Garrison Ave., 479-783-9805

EZ Thrift: 4302 Towson Ave., 479-222-4533

Fianna Hills Consignment Boutique: 9220 Highway 71 South, 479-649-8793

Abbi Ross is the business and features reporter at the Southwest Times Record. She can be reached at aross@swtimes or on Twitter at @__AbbiRoss

This article originally appeared on Fort Smith Times Record: Rounding up some of Fort Smith's thrift stores and vintage markets

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