From small towns to big cities, thrift stores pepper the American landscape.
Charities operate most of the nation’s thrift stores, using the proceeds to advance their causes. Goodwill and The Salvation Army are among the most recognized charities that run thrift stores; however, thousands of lesser-known groups and churches also operate such stores. Whether managed by a prominent charity or small organization, nearly all thrift stores have one thing in common: They are filled with hordes of random stuff.
Also known as second-hand stores and resale shops, thrift stores rely on donations from the public. They typically receive such standard fare as clothing, shoes, furniture and housewares in addition to an eclectic mix of more obscure items. From artwork and knick-knacks to lingerie and jewelry to electronics and books, thrift store shoppers never know what treasures they’ll find among the shelves.
While thrift stores were once thought to be only for the poor, they have developed a mainstream customer base. Many people who are concerned about the state of the environment shop at thrift stores because they regard it as a type of recycling. Others like to peruse the racks for “vintage” and unusual items, while others simply prefer to save money by buying used.
– Jenny Jones, editor
All Thrifty States is a photography project aimed at documenting thrift stores in each of the 50 states. Part journalism, part art and part sociology, the project spotlights thrift culture, regional donation patterns, environmentally friendly consumption and the current state of America's economy.
All Thrifty States began as a personal project for photographer Jenna Isaacson in 2010. Isaacson visited thrift stores in 10 states, and before long the project gained momentum in the photo community.
After raising funds through a pledge drive on Kickstarter and a generous donation from Goodwill International, Isaacson hit the road in an RV this past summer. Over the course of 52 days and more than 10,000 miles, she documented thrift stores in 30 states. Combined with the previous work, the project now spans 40 states.
With 10 more states to go, Isaacson is working to raise donations to complete the project.
Prints of these images as well as some not see in this story are available through American-Journal Images.