Allston on a Dime

By Danielle Bozzone

Photography by Brittany Chang

Allston, although known for its nightlife, has plenty to offer during the day too. If you live on campus, the proximity of Goodwill, located at 965 Commonwealth Ave., can be tempting. However if you are willing to travel a bit further, you will be rewarded with the thrifty gems of Allston. With more variety of items, price and style, the Allston thrift scene is thriving and rewarding and can be appreciated by casual shoppers and hardcore thrifters alike.

Urban Renewals

122 Brighton Ave., Allston

This sprawling store is similar to Goodwill, but with a selection twice as big. The items are well curated and are organized based on color, style and type.

“Thrift stores sometimes get a reputation for having disposable or unwanted clothing, but I’ve found some real gems [at Urban Renewals],” said Carolyn Vara (CAS ’17).

Pricing is done via a color-coded system that indicates a range of prices depending on the color of the tag. This system means that sometimes things may seem overpriced, but on the flip side it also means that sometimes you can get something for a steal.

“One of my friends got a beautiful fur coat that she wears all the time for only $20,” added Vara.

Be warned though, Urban Renewals is cash only and has no dressing rooms.

Buffalo Exchange

180 Harvard Ave., Boston

Buffalo Exchange may not be the place to go for a deal—a t-shirt can often cost $15—but they are the place to go for thrifted brand name clothing.

“They are very strict with the clothes that they accept to sell there. It isn’t always strict based on quality or trends, but they really want brand names,” said Marsha Kubyshko (CAS ’17).

However, this pickiness can be used to your advantage with a little preemptive research on their online wanted page. It gives you an idea of what they are looking for, so that you don’t carry a bunch of winter coats there that they won’t take. Instead, you can show up with things you know they need. They might even reimburse you better for helping them out than they would with clothes that aren’t in demand.

Despite higher prices, Buffalo Exchange does occasionally have amazing sales. During their annual Earth Day sale, a selection of clothing and accessories are only one dollar. They also run charitable programs like “Coats for Cubs Drive,” which gives consigned items directly to charity rather than selling them for profit. Although not a typical thrift store, with its charitable programs and higher prices, Buffalo Exchange is definitely worth a look.

Rock City Resale

379 Cambridge St., Allston

Unlike other shops, Rock City Resale is quite small and the mantra “Quality Over Quantity” definitely holds true here. They have an extensive furniture and knick-knack collection that is reasonably priced, making it perfect for both apartment and dorm shopping or just picking up a trinket as a gift for a friend. Their clothing section is small, but the items are all great quality—no rips, tears or stains—and the perfect combination of stylish and wearable.

Store 54

16 Harvard Ave., Allston

Caveat: Store 54 is closing in May of this year. However, the owner has openly stated that it is a sabbatical rather than a complete closing. With this in mind, Store 54 is often pricey but has a collection curated like a museum. The owners care deeply about Allston, its music history and its shows. Their store doubles as a concert venue during the night, housing more established acts that perform genres not typically heard in Allston basement shows.

Their record selection is unmatched and their photography, book, and magazine selections are equally impressive. So when and if Store 54 reopens, make sure you stop in.

Finding quality items doesn’t have to mean sacrificing various non-essential body parts. With a little searching, grit and determination, you can end up with something amazing and unique.