For some it's a hobby. For others, it's a way of life. Either way, thrifting is a trend that's here to stay.

Second-hand shopping has exploded into the cultural mainstream thanks to a perfect storm of sorts; the growing DIY and repurposing movements on social media, hit TV shows like "American Pickers," and the rise of the environmentally conscious consumer. It is also a great way to save money, and that's something Americans are always on the lookout to do.

"It offers a lot of opportunity, especially as a college student, to score some cool stuff for less," said local musician and Marshall senior Joe Artrip. "You're not guaranteed that item you're looking for but it's part of the hunt."

The Tri-State has plenty of hunting grounds too. Along with countless yard sales happening every weekend, there are almost a dozen Goodwill retail stores within a 15-mile radius of Huntington, not to mention flea markets in Chesapeake, Ashland, Milton, and Proctorville. But for those thrifters looking to dig a little deeper, the area has a few hidden gems as well.

Watts N Here, located just across the river in Chesapeake, Ohio, has become one of the region's most notable thrift stores, stocking everything from vinyl records and electronics to home appliances, furniture and clothing. Owners Jim Spence and Barbara Collins opened the present location in Chesapeake Plaza in 2015.

"It's always something different." Spence said. "We get new stuff, we get old stuff, we buy storage units, we do moving and close out sales. The variety is the best part."

Collins insists that Watts N Here's success is greatly due to their loyal clientele.

"It's the customers that have kept us here," Collins said. "A lot of them have become like family over the years."

Watts N Here has a very active presence on Facebook, posting some of their big ticket items and engaging with fellow thrifters. Some customers have traveled from Cincinnati, Tennessee, and New York because of Facebook posts. However, that doesn't mean Watts N Here is in going to lose its small town feel anytime soon.

"It's kind of old school here," said Spence. "Almost like a throwback to the general store. It's not like walking into Walmart. People come in, hang out and talk. We get to know them."

Less than 10 miles west of Huntington sits another thrifting destination full of surprises. Storage Estate Sales, tucked away in the township of Solida, Ohio, may look inconspicuous on the outside, but inside is a different story. The shop is packed with vintage action figures, outdoor sporting gear, antique collectibles, records, clothing, and so much more.

"I love going through all the old literature and getting to see everything from the past," said employee Sophia Jade. "Instead of all this great stuff being thrown away, it comes here. I feel like it's a form of preservation, even recycling."

While Storage Estate Sales is only open on Fridays and Saturdays, its limited business hours always guarantee a bustling atmosphere full of thrifters on the hunt.

Second Hand Rose is one of the region's oldest names in thrifting, celebrating its 44th year as Ashland's marquee consignment destination. In recent years, the company has expanded beyond the flagship clothing shop, opening a specialized furniture location and a children's store.

"Everyday is like a treasure hunt," said partner Matt Perkins. "We have stuff coming in from all over the region. Over 30,000 people have sold items with us."

Perkins' love for his customers is evident as he greets and converses with nearly every shopper in the furniture store on a busy Saturday afternoon.

"My passion is people," Perkins said. "It is great to be able to give people an opportunity to make money, and to give our shoppers a way to save money as well."

Now in his 15th year as a partner, Perkins has witnessed first hand the modernization of an established thrifting institution.

"We've had to adapt our marketing strategy," said Perkins. "We post more pictures of our inventory online now than we ever have before. It's Instagram, it's Facebook. It has definitely helped us reach the next generation of our customers, because that's where they look."

As business continues to boom, Perkins can see even further expansion in the future.

"We would love to open a fourth store. We have citizens from Grayson, Portsmouth, Huntington, all wanting us to open a location in those towns. I think it is because they have a unique experience when they visit our stores."

With the thrifting movement more popular than ever before, Perkins and many others agree that the perception of buying second hand has changed.

"There used to be this kind of stigma associated with it," he said. "That is no longer the case. People actually pride themselves on getting a good deal and they will tell everybody."


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