Sometimes you just want to feel like a simple medieval villager headed to the woods to forage for mushrooms. If you are having that type of day, you should know that thrifting can actually replicate that experience, and we have the perfect thrift stores for you. Village Merchants, located on Division St., makes for the ideal day of thrifting with its curated stacks and quirky Portland vibe. It is undeniably Portland’s finest thrift store, and is fairly affordable as well.
Village Merchants is not your average corporate thrift store. It feels intentionally designed with Lewis & Clark students in mind. Opened in 1998, it is known to always have a bit of everything for everyone. Part of what makes the finds so good is that it is curated by young, local Portlanders. Within the levels, you can find anything from lawn mowing items to teacup sets.
Upon entering the store, you are immediately greeted with a selection of assorted shelving filled with ceramics, glass art teacups and more. The clothing is just around the corner, but these items are well worth your time. There is a selection of local art, ornate gold frames, vintage photographs and postcards, and more on these shelves, most in the $1-5 range. It is perfect for dorm decor, art supplies and scrapbooking.
As you continue through the store, you enter the shoe hallway. Outfitted with Persian rugs and an array of odd chandeliers and Victorian-style wedding dresses hanging above, the atmosphere is just right for the villager inside all of us. It calls to something archaic within you, something that draws you to a pair of rough-looking cowboy boots.
The crème de la crème is the clothing section. With around seven racks, things might look bleak. However, seven racks at Village Merchants is worth 20 at a chain thrift store. The dresses section is packed with $3-12 finds. Flowy summer dresses and satin slips are among the unique finds within the rack. A new $5 silk pajama set was my personal favorite find. Authentic vintage military surplus cargo pants were a close second.
Like any respectable vintage store, Village Merchants boasts a creaky stairway that certainly does not feel up to code, which leads up to an even creakier second floor filled with everything from stunning stained glass lamps to ’90s tote bags.
A hallmark trait of the store is its affordability. A vast majority of the items are below $10. You will not leave the store feeling confused, as though you have been robbed at gunpoint by a Goodwill cashier.
Affordable and unique, Village Merchants is for any LC student, or medieval villager’s, dream come true.