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Nifty but thrifty: Shoppers may find deals at places offering gently used goods

For Lisa Gurvich, hunting through consignment shops to find one-of-a-kind items — without breaking the bank — has become part of her routine.

Every few weeks, she heads to South Beach to get her hair done, and after her appointment, she makes sure to stop at Consign of the Times and Fly Boutique to check out their latest collections of high-end labels and locally designed clothes as well as vintage items.

“They have such an eclectic mix,” Gurvich, 37, said after she had combed through the racks of Fly Boutique Saturday afternoon.

Gurvich likes wearing unique items, and she finds that consignment shops are the perfect spot to find clothes and accessories that allow her to stand out. And prices are often a big step down from those found in department stores.

“Louis Vuitton doesn’t go on sale, Chanel doesn’t go on sale, so you come here and you can find something that’s in excellent condition and you’re not going to pay full retail price,” said Robert Deardorff, general manager of Fly Boutique.

With consignment, vintage and thrift stores are sprouting up around the county, here are some hot spots worth checking out:


Fly Boutique

Fly Boutique has been a Miami Beach staple for nearly two decades. In that time, it has developed a strong base of consignors who supply the shops with quality items as well as a loyal following among shoppers.

The two shops sell vintage clothing, and apparel from local designers and famous labels such as Gucci. Fly Boutique offers a strong collection of handbags, belts, jewelry and shoes.

“I have some consignors who have very big shoe problems,” Deardorff said. “Half the shoes they consign they haven’t even worn or they wore once.” He said it’s not unheard of to find footwear that retails for $1,200 sell at the shops for a few hundred dollars.

One of Gurvich’s favorite finds here was a gold butterfly necklace by Kenneth Jay Lane.

“I got a butterfly necklace that was in Sex and the City,” said Gurvich, a Coconut Grove resident. “It was 12 years ago and I still wear it.”

1634 Euclid Ave., Miami Beach ; 7235 Biscayne Blvd., Miami

Consign of the Times

Those on the hunt for high-end hand bags at fraction of the price can check out one of the area’s oldest consignment stores, Consign of the Times. Brands here include Fendi, Prada, Gucci and Louis Vuitton.

The shop even has an Hermès handbag, a Birkin. It’s selling for almost $40,000, but if purchased retail, it would cost many thousands of dollars more. Customers can also store a “wish list” on the store’s Website that includes their measurements and interests.

The Miami Beach store also sells men’s clothing.

The shop receives new items daily, and consignors receive half of whatever an item sells for. If an item does not sell within three months, the store will either extend the contract or return it to the consigner, or donate it to Lotus House, Goodwill or another charity-based group.

1635 Jefferson Ave., Miami Beach; 5900 SW 73rd St., South Miami

Second Time Around

One of the oldest consignment chains in the country, Second Time Around carries designer clothes and high-end handbags. But most products — up to 75 percent of them — are new, with the tags to prove it.

Second Time Around also stores “wish lists” for customers on its Website.

5770 Sunset Dr., South Miami; 1034 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale


The Rabbit Hole

Those who wander off the beaten path can find a trove of vintage clothing down The Rabbit Hole. The North Miami Beach shop carries a variety of vintage items — from day dresses with far-out prints to retro belts, scarves and bowties as well as men’s trendy Western wear.

Shoppers can also find quirky old knickknacks for sale in display cases. They also find vintage handbags as well as The Rabbit Hole’s own brand of handbags made from Italian leather. Most items are from the 1950s-’80s, and prices tend to range from $20 to $60.

17032 W. Dixie Hwy., N. Miami Beach

Miami Twice

Miami Twice, which has been around since 1985, has a large selection of vintage clothing, with more than 3,000 garments in a store of more than 5,000 square feet. Dresses can range from $50 to $600.

The store also sells vintage and designer handbags in addition to an assortment of nifty antique oddities and toys.

Retro-inspired new clothing, which appeals to those who seek a modern cut but who long for a vintage look, can be found here. And ravers can find some choice items in the back of the store near some of the ’80s items, including flashing LED rings and neon tutus. Every October, the store becomes a one-stop adult Halloween-costume shop.

6562 Bird Rd., Miami


The Children’s Exchange

Many parents share the frustration of buying their children nice clothes — only to watch their kids grow out of them a year later. Fortunately, there are places to make some money off of those lightly used clothes and pick up new, or at least new-ish, clothes that are the right size and price.

The Children’s Exchange, which has been in business for 35 years, sells high chairs, strollers, toys, DVDs and shoes, and brand-name and designer clothing for newborns on up to 14-year-olds. Shoppers can get good deals on children’s seasonal clothing, such as ski wear.

Parents may also want to check out Peek-A-Boo Children’s and Maternity Preloved Boutique, 1911 Ponce De Leon Blvd, Coral Gables, for designer children’s clothes and maternity wear.

1415 Sunset Dr., Coral Gables


Lotus House Thrift

All profits from The Lotus House Thrift go to the Lotus House Shelter in Midtown, which aims to help homeless women and children. Those staying at the shelter are also able to come by the store to pick up items they need to get back on their feet.

“Our goal is not a handout but a hand up,” director Constance Collins said. “Words like empowerment really means something and translate to everyday opportunity to build a new life.”

Shoppers at the Lotus House can expect to find nearly everything from designer clothing and shoes to records and household furniture. There’s even a room stocked with formal wear for proms, wedding and other events.

Program manager Irma Williams stayed at the Lotus House when she found herself homeless a few years ago. She said she looks at her job as a way to “pay it forward” by helping other women who are in a situation similar to the one she was in. “I love my job,” she said.

203 NW 36th St., Miami

Flamingo Plaza

901 E 10th Ave, Hialeah

Frugal fashionistas who are willing to dig for big bargains should head over to Flamingo Plaza, north of the airport in Hialeah. The strip mall is filled with several large thrift stores, so shoppers have plenty of choices. However, while the prices may be tough to beat, it may take substantial time and effort to find just what you’re looking for.

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