"Yeah, right," responds the skeptic - expecting stuff too bad for Goodwill - expecting moth holes and stains, rips, ring around the collar, missing buttons, tears and cat hair - expecting worn cuffs - expecting anything but what's offered. Which is an array of clean and stylish clothing and shoes in top condition, for men, women and children.
A shopper takes a "look at me" woman's red jacket off the rack, holds it high by the hanger, turning it to check out its perfection, and in a voice barely above the aural threshold sings, "That's where my money goes, to buy my baby clothes…" The shopper reads the label:
Sak's 5th Avenue, all wool.
Nifty "As Is" occupies a prime spot at the top of Rivertown, is easy to get to, has plenty of parking and is run by the non-profit corporation Actively Living and Involved in a Variety of Endeavors (ALIVE) that "primarily serves adults over age 18 with physical impairments, developmental disabilities or sensory impairments…" This is a chance to help it help them while helping yourself to standout duds.
It's strictly cash, so stop at the money wall before you shop for all the really chic, hip, classy stuff with the branding. There are no marketing tricks, no excluding of the good stuff with one of those "Does not include…" tag lines. All the known and unknown brands are $1.
Talbot, Bill Blass, Laura Ashley.
Shopping sounds of sliding, clacking hangers resound in the room. Maria Romeo shops for her family here. Over one arm, she slings kid stuff and also three very sharp neckties. With her free arm she slides hangers, then tilts a jacket, making a V between two garments to get a good look in the stalking phase of shopping, then lifts it out, holds it up and goes for the kill. She adds it to the pile on her storage arm.
Eric McDaniel shops here for friends, grandchildren and poor people. "Whoever, whenever," he said. Today he is shopping for a man who lost his job. "This is a hot little store."
Photos by Harry StollAudrey Sysum, right, makes change at Nifty 'As Is,' a very nifty thrift store at Third and I streets in Rivertown.
A shopper was all the way up to Elton John's "Crocodile Rock" and did a mondegreen of "Suzy wore her dresses tight," as he twirled a hanger holding a shimmering sheath of a dress by DKNY. Next, the shopper sang "Cocktails for Two." The voice was so low that only those at the same rack could hear, and they weren't certain they hadn't imagined it.
A shopper kept piling clothes onto the left arm, which was now loaded and hanging low like the shield of a weary warrior. A teal all-cotton Eddie Bauer with a military-style placket to button high for those nights in the ski lodge with the hot toddies and nice ladies - a Zegna sweater striped with many subdued colors under a raised pebbly black crisscrossing.
Gap, Brooks Brothers, Liz Claiborne.
Chris Bittle of Oakley is so enamored of the place, she brings her out-of-town visitors here to shop. Today, she is shopping for a man just in from Hawaii "who has no clothes."
Elegant Monette Rios, of the elegant abella mia high-end kids' stuff store on Second Street, has shopped here.
Nifty "As Is" also has some housewares. Sheets are 50 cents. Bittle said she buys pillows here for her dog and throws them away when he's done with them. A shelf holds some teapots short and stout. And there is glassware and some silver and such, but mostly it's the clothes.
This is a clean place with the southern sun shining in for your shopping pleasure. Get to Third and I and your trunk will runneth over.
Knaus said the shop takes donations, but only during business hours, which are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.