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I Spent a Week Shopping at 5 Newish Vintage/Thrift Stores

These shops may be less well-known, but they should be on your radar.

The smell of musty cotton. The mysterious stains. Holes in the armpits of jackets and crotches of jeans. These are the maybe not-so-good things that may scare people away from vintage and thrift stores. But there’s also the rush: Finding an amazing deal, the discovery of something old fitting like it was made for you, and building a wardrobe of truly unique pieces. 

You already know about Goodwill and Arc's Value Village, so I spent last week scouting a few newish Twin Cities shops. What’s the vibe of the store, what do they specialize in, what kind of people shop here—and can I even afford vintage shopping? Here’s a breakdown of the places I explored.  

Merch Dog VintageInstragram

Merch Dog Vintage
986 Dale St. N., St. Paul (back alley entrance)

Vibe: This 500-square-foot store uses every inch of its space, offering an eclectic collection of clothing and merchandise, including Depression-era dresses, super-short Y2K skirts, large pictures of Elvis Presley in beveled frames, corsets, rugs, Star Trek Barbie dolls, and Harley Davidson vests.

Description: While Merch Dog’s Instagram regularly features sneak peaks of new items and accessories dropping in-store, there’s a catch: This shop is only open Wednesdays from 5 to 8 p.m. Each week, owner Jake Williams says crowds of 40 or so people squeeze into the small storefront in a rush to get their hands on coveted items. When Williams isn’t working the store, he’s combing through other thrift shops across Minnesota to find quality items that he deems “cool enough where it shouldn’t end up in a landfill.” 

Takeaways: If you’re looking for trendy vintage pieces like oversized Harley graphic tees, scratchy wool sweaters, and Chanel purses, duck your head under the short doorframe and be prepared to wrestle for the latest drops. I would totally go back to Merch Dog for the reasonably priced goods, but not without tailgating ahead of time to make sure I can get in. 

316 VintageInstagram

316 Vintage 
316 W. 42nd St., Minneapolis

Vibe: Overwhelming! There isn’t an inch of wall space where things aren’t on display. But the smell of old leather is comforting, and the larger-than-expected walkways between merchandise racks is much appreciated.

Description: Owner Mike Bailey prides 316 on being a “true vintage” store (everything is reportedly 30+ years old), and for mainly selling items made in the good ol’ U.S. of A. Think platform boots with chunky silver buckles, niche '80s rock band tees, and black corded bolo ties with Texas-style longhorn pendants. While the store opened just about two years ago, Bailey boasts two decades of experience as a vintage wholesaler. 

Takeaways: If you’re looking for authentic cowboy boots or perhaps a vintage Minnesota Twins sweater, 316 is the place for you. Would I visit again? Totally, especially if I wanted to splurge on a Lynyrd Skynyrd muscle tank.

Shoes galore at Urban JungleMakenzi Johnson

Urban Jungle
3008 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis

Vibe: This place feels like a shipping container that somehow has lots of natural light. There’s also James Dean on the wall and lots of sneakers. Lots and lots of sneakers. When I visited the boarded up windows made me anxious that they weren’t open, but a friendly employee greeted me with a smile the second I stepped in. 

Description: According to store manager Freddie Bastid, owner Tommie Daye opened Urban Jungle in 2016 with a close-knit work family to provide unique vintage clothing and tons of sneakers. The Uptown shop stacks shelves upon shelves of sneakers all along the front wall—from funky patterned Air Force 1s to mustard yellow clogs with Grinch-approved shaggy fur.  

Takeaways: I’m not a sneaker-head, but I would totally go back to comb through their T-shirt racks or even just to admire the art on the wall. For those who prefer edgier street styles, book it to Urban Jungle. 

Leisure WorldMakenzi Johnson

Leisure World
2457 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis

Vibe: Can you call Leisure World a hole in the wall if it’s technically in the basement of a random corner building? This is a cozy nook where the smell of sage hits you hard, but all was forgiven though when I saw that the color-arranged shirt displays.

Description: Employee Katya Boehnen told me Leisure World supplies styles from just about every era. She’s right. While there I saw funky '70s blouses, heavy '90s fur coats, and '00s silk dresses. It’s not just T-shirts and jeans; you’ll find all kinds of dresses, lingerie, and even nice button-downs that could work at a corporate office job. I spotted a black mini skirt with a pink beaded fringe and, being the investigative journalist I am, I obviously had to try it on. It would be a lie to say I didn’t text two of my friends a photo and asked, “I don’t need this, right???” 

Takeaways: I would definitely visit again to pick up that skirt (I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it!), and to find other clothes that I could wear on the daily. 

4evr Sale’ingMakenzi Johnson

4evr Sale’ing
3447 Bloomington Ave., Minneapolis

Vibe: It’s everything you’d find in your grandmother’s home that you don’t want to admit you actually like.

Description: Kindly owner Tasha Anderson opened 4evr Sale’ing this past March as a “thrift store with garage sale pricing.” While 4evr had some racks of clothing, the store’s specialty is homewear, from colorful glassware to ornate patterned lamp shades. In true garage-sale fashion, the affordable merchandise turns over quickly.

Takeaways: If I were looking for very reasonably priced homegoods, I would head to 4evr Sale’ing again, especially to hear Tasha greet her customers by name and chat 'em up.

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