Off the Beaten Path – This Shop is a Thrift Lovers’ Treasure Trove

One of the reasons we love going to Kenosha, Wisconsin a few times a year is not to buy cheese, but to browse a wonderful little shop crammed with treasures called Monica’s Thrift Shop. A bit off the beaten path, this unassuming store is loaded from floor to ceiling with an amazing array of new, vintage, and antique goodies with something for everyone’s taste. Our most recent visit was on May 29 and we weren’t disappointed. In fact, I would say that there was more merchandise packed into this place than the last time we stopped by. Even the bathroom at this shop is decked out with incredibly cool items.

The displays are creative and inventive and clearly designed with a lot of love and care. Most of the areas are themed – cat figurines grouped together, dog figurines grouped together, Disney-related shelves, an enormous display of really cool roosters, several sweet displays of vintage vanity items, Asian and Native American motif shelves, and a room devoted to every kitchen notion known to mankind. It is the latter from which I had to summon Jeff – or excise him – a gourmet cook, he completely immersed himself in the hunt for that elusive kitchen gadget. I finally pried him away from this little haven after 30 minutes or so.

If you like browsing and choosing from a massive selection of bargain-priced merchandise, this is the shop for you. You won’t find a handful of anything here – try hundreds of pieces of jewelry, 75+ vintage purses, 40+ vintage perfume bottles, a huge basket of collectible spoons, hundreds of animal figurines and salt & pepper shakers, and much more. I asked the owner how she could stock the place with such an incredible abundance of reasonably priced merchandise. She replied that most of the goods are on consignment, which makes this place even more amazing since all of these items must be carefully inventoried and presumably the consignor gets a chunk of the sale.

There are a few rip-off consignment shops in suburban Chicago that could learn a good lesson from Monica’s – in general the owners of these Chicago-area shops are rude, the displays are haphazard, and the merchandise is often dirty or extremely overpriced. While a few of the thousands of items at Monica’s are a bit pricey, they are not overpriced, and most of the items are very reasonable compared to Chicago antique stores. We were delighted that everything in the shop – with the exception of furniture – was 25 percent off, and purses were actually half price.

So what treasures did we come away with on this trip? It was Jeff’s birthday so I offered to treat him to whatever goodies he found. Alas, the only two items he couldn’t live without were a very sturdy meat thermometer and a crinkle cutter for vegetables – these were $1.00 each and with the discount were a mere 75 cents. For myself I purchased a beautiful manicure set, circa 1930s in a leather case, a few sterling silver thimbles, a couple of weird religious buttons, and a Cracker Jack charm. The manicure set has already been put to good use – since blogging about that wretched manicure I got a few weeks ago, I am doing my own nails now!

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