We took a Tour of the New Philly AIDS Thrift

In the 90’s, Thrift for AIDS was a South Street staple for all your second-hand needs and ultra-cheap buys. Clothes, furniture, CDs the then relevant but ultimately doomed cassette tapes, books, appliances and electronics were categorically laid out through its broad expanse at 629-635 South St. It was for a good cause, and students, residents and visitors alike shopped there regularly. It unfortunately shut its doors in the early 2000s, leaving us to rely on the scattered thrift stores throughout Philly, or nearby Retrospect for a slightly overpriced collection for the hipsters in our lives.

In 2005, however, the void was filled by Philadelphia AIDS Thrift, a separate organization with the same goal as Thrift for AIDS. Its location was tucked away on the 500 block of Bainbridge St., in a cramped storefront that held its wares, but usually felt dark and crowded. The area was a good choice, with other used book traders and second-hand furniture stores dotting the block, but the size of their building left little room for increasing stock or keeping the shopping experience fresh.

 

The new digs

As we mentioned back in May, PAT recently made a move around the corner into the old Kroungold’s
Furniture warehouse at 710 S. 5th Street, and what a difference a little space makes! The departments are laid out in large, adjacent rooms, and aside from the sight of the goods themselves, the color
schemes and lighting make exploring the place fun. There are rooms devoted entirely to electronics and music, kitchen items, clothing for men, women and children, household goods, and all the rest of the unusual finds you expect when thrifting. The staff is friendly and helpful, and all seem proud of working towards the cause. The co-founder and manager, Christina Kallas-Saritsoglou, was nostalgic about the old space on Bainbridge where they got their start, but couldn’t deny the new spot was a positive change for the store and the intersection where Passyunk meets Bainbridge and South. The greater visibility will definitely be an asset.

Check out these photos of the new store!

Philadelphia AIDS Thrift is incorporated in Pennsylvania as a non-profit business and is a federally recognized 501c3 tax-exempt charitable organization. They have currently passed the $300K mark
in cash contributions to Philadelphia area AIDS organizations. The main beneficiary is the AIDS Fund, which distributes money to twenty-nine AIDS agencies in the five county Philadelphia region. The AIDS Fund distributes the donations with no costs taken out, and also organizes the Philadelphia AIDS Walk every October, and a monthly Gay Bingo fundraiser throughout the year. Philly AIDS Thrift is always accepting donations and needs volunteers. Most importantly, they survive because of shoppers. More information on visiting and helping out in any way is available on their site. So go and do your part by reusing, saving some money on the things you need, and helping support the continued fight and support of those with the disease.

-Lauren Summers