Located 15 minutes away from campus, off NW 23rd Avenue, the William Temple House Thrift Store is home to an impressive selection of clothing, furniture, accessories and even a senior shop cat. The shop is run by the nonprofit social services organization William Temple, which was founded in 1965. The thrift store itself is quite vintage; established in 1972, it is the oldest thrift store in Portland.
The William Temple organization is dedicated to helping people and families in various ways. They often provide food shelters, counseling services, household items and emergency assistance relief. Their castle-like Victorian-era office building, the William Temple House, is located a block away and is worth a visit. All proceeds from the thrift store support the local Portland community through the programs that the organization provides, making it a more ethical alternative to corporations like Goodwill.
When entering the store there is a boutique “vintage” section to the right for the more curated used clothing items. There are color-coordinated racks that offer clothes tailored to many styles, with neatly displayed glassware, ceramics and art hanging on the walls. Some racks have tags that state 50-75% off. The store uses the classic thrift store color-coded tag system, where certain colors are on clearance at certain times. However, unlike other thrift stores, the tags are hung on separate racks denoting the markdown, as opposed to being mixed in.
The store also has a mixture of higher-end and regular items. A Ralph Lauren Polo Top is priced at $15, while assorted women’s blouses go for around $5. The pricing is perfect for broke college students feeling distraught about Goodwill’s criminally overpriced clothing in recent years. In addition to the great prices, if you donate clothes or furniture to the thrift store, you will receive a 20% off coupon that can be applied to your next purchase. Something about the foraging and searching of thrifting leaves one hungry, ravenous or even famished. Luckily, a block away, on NW 21st avenue, there is arguably Portland’s most diverse array of restaurants. There is San Sai, a Japanese grill with the best katsu curry in Portland. Top Burmese has great vegan options, such as coconut noodle soup and Burmese Gold Samosas. Additionally, there are three Indian food options, Swagat being the best of the three pizza parlors, two Chinese restaurants, a Mediterranean spot and more all within a five-minute walk.
For dessert, there is a sleek fondue restaurant, Urban Fondue, or the beloved frozen yogurt spot, Eb & Bean NW, with non-dairy options for lactose-intolerant or vegan people.
A highlight of your visit is sure to be the shop cat named Ozzy that greets you at the door and lazily sits by the window, watching shoppers browse. Ozzy has an Instagram you can check out at @ozzy_the_shopcat.