Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Best Places in Philly to Shop for the Home (Part I)

(map of Philadelphia by Grace Lee for Anthology Mag)
Back in March I posted about the topic of comments and, not surprisingly, you my dear readers responded with support and some inspiration for new topics/info you’d like to see here on Meet Me in Philadelphia. One repeat request that appeared in those comments –my recommendations for the best places to find deals on home items here in the Greater Philadelphia area, so this is for you, Leah, Megan and Tara and anyone else!

I've toyed with sharing these tips in the past but your requests really pushed me into action!

And while these tips may seem very specific to those in the area, I hope this will help readers from all over explore their area for similar, local shopping options. Today in Part I, we’ll chat auctions, thrift stores and flea markets while tomorrow (Part II) is all about estate sales, antique shops and fabric stores.
Did I do my best to encourage you, readers, to check out your local auctions after explaining the ins-and-outs of them in this post? I hope so!  The best place to find auctions in the Philadelphia area—and anywhere in the country—is with Listings can be found by distance or date, and that’s where I found details for two local auction houses that I've been to in this area: South Jersey Auction and William Bunch Auctions.
FYI: I purchased my two open-arm upholstered chairs from William Bunch Auctions in Chadd’s Ford, PA (which happens to be a few minutes from Terrain, a worthwhile stop if you’re nearby).
Remember, not all auctions happen on the weekends. Many occur during the weekdays so let me again encourage readers interested in shopping auctions to attend previews and possibly leave absentee bids if you can’t attend the live event.

My auction recommendations:
1 Hillman Drive
Chadds Ford, PA 19317

26 Repaupo Station Road
Swedesboro, NJ 08085

Thrift Stores:
More often than not if I write about a thrift store find, the item came from one of the four Impact Thrift Stores in the Greater Philadelphia area. I've gone in expecting not to find anything and ended up walking out with furniture, fabric, lamps, books/magazines, and all sorts of odds-and-ends. I first heard about Impact from my mother-in-law during our first year in Philly, so she really deserves all the credit here!
I'd also recommend frequenting the many Habitat for Humanity Restore locations in the Philly area or any area regardless of where you live. The cause of Habitat is reason enough to shop here, but Restore stores are a great resource for building materials, furniture and paint, among other things. In fact, I found my favorite mirror for $3 here.

There are also many smaller thrift stores along the Main Line--the suburbs west of the city--including Bryn Mawr Hospital Thrift Store, where I found my $17 coffee table. In addition to the stores highlighted here, I would encourage all readers to always be utilizing Google to find new thrift stores in the region or wherever you are!

My thrift store recommendations:
Impact Thrift Stores (multiple locations)

6955 Central Highway
Pennsauken, NJ 08109

818 Glenbrook Avenue
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010

Flea Markets:
I love to check out flea markets where diamonds can be found among the junk for mere pennies. When I first moved to Philadelphia, I made a point to spend some time searching online for others’ recommendations for the best flea markets in the area and ended up finding a few worth mentioning.

The most convenient flea market is the Philadelphia Flea Market, which runs from spring to late fall, and rotates its location throughout several neighborhoods in downtown Philadelphia. I've had luck finding both artwork and small decorative items for reasonable prices. When we lived in Society Hill, it was hard not to walk a block or two the weekend vendors would be on Pine Street to see what offerings they had.

While I’ve never been, I’ve always wanted to check out Renningers Antique Market in Kutztown (an hour and a half drive from Philadelphia) since I read about it from Danny Seo and Eddie Ross. Has anyone been?
If you're not into traveling a great distance for a good flea market, why not drive a short distance to the Clover Market in downtown Ardmore on the Main Line? The market runs spring through fall and features original artwork, architectural salvage, clothing and furniture from an extensive list of great vendors.

My flea market recommendations:
Philadelphia Flea Markets (rotating locations)

740 Noble Street
Kutztown, PA 19530

12 E. Lancaster Avenue
Ardmore, PA 19003

The Piazza at Schmidt's
1050 N. Hancock Street
Philadelphia, PA 19123
There you have it, a few recommendations for auction houses, thrift stores and flea markets worth checking out if you're local or planning on visiting sometime soon. I can't promise you'll stumble upon 1st Dibs-worthy finds every time, but the hunt is half the fun.

Tomorrow, I'll share my recommendations for shopping estate sales, antique shops and fabric stores in the area.

And, if you're a local reader and know of a spot I didn't include here, I'd love to hear about it! I'm always on the search for new places myself!


  1. Very nice and helpful information has been given in this article. I like the way you explain the things. Keep posting. Thanks. furniture Online

  2. As a relative newbie to Philly, this is really helpful! And thanks for the tip about the Brooklyn fun!

  3. These are great tips Ashley! Have you ever tried Phantastic Phinds on Bethlehem Pike? I have found some nice mirrors and furniture pieces there in the past. Also, my local Salvation Army (although overpriced) has had gems like bar carts, globes, and nice lamps. I'm definitely trying out the auctions sometime soon.

  4. Very helpful!! I have gone to Bryn Mawr Thrift weekly since moving to the Main Line in January and love Clover Market, but I need to check out the others!

  5. Thanks for this! I need to finish up my home redecoration!

  6. I've always loved Impact but haven't had a chance to get there recently. We're going to need a few furniture pieces for our next house so it will be my first stop. Have you been to the Impact in Feasterville? I've heard very good things and it's HUGE. I took a drive out this past fall to the Golden Nugget flea market in Lambertville and that was pretty good too - definitely varies with the inventory but I came away with a few good items.

  7. @Megan--Yup, I have been to Phantastic Phinds. You'll be pleased that it makes an appearance in tomorrow's post.

    @Holly--I've been to all the Impact stores at this point and loving checking them all. The Feasterville location is definitely the largest with the most furniture, so I definitely recommend stopping by. I'll have to check out Golden Nugget, too--thank you for the rec!

    Glad everyone found this post helpful. I aim to please!

  8. All the more reason to spend some time in the Philly area :)

  9. Ashley,
    I'll have to check out some of these places the next time I visit Terrain. Thanks!

  10. Now I wish I lived in Philly so I could exploit your expertise


I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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