Story and photos by Brianna Brickweg
MSUM English and Mass Communications
Unique finds and hidden treasures make thrifting a worthwhile endeavor and digging for these treasures is half the fun. But is there a line between digging for hidden treasures and digging to find anything worthy of purchase?
Downtown Fargo offers some niche stores – Revolver and Frontier Americana, for example – that offer select types of antique items.
Other places – like Antiques on Broadway, Old and New Store and Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch – offer many different types of items with no real distinct market, other than “used items.” These stores are where “the dig” comes into play. Finding what you are looking for or finding something unique is a larger challenge.
How to find your hidden treasures
I set out to find what these stores had to offer and provide you with a guide for how to make your thrifting experience easier. I rated each store on a scale of one-to-five based on these categories:
- Organization – How well is each store divided? Is the furniture all in one area? Are the books mixed in with the cutlery?
- Cleanliness – Are items strewn about the floor? Is clothing neatly displayed or left in piles?
- Layout – How easy is it to navigate through the store from one area to another?
- Price – How fair is the price? Are items marked higher in other places?
- Variety – Are the same items seen throughout the store? Are different types of items offered or do these places offer a lot of the same things?
1. Antiques on Broadway
The organization in Antiques on Broadway isn’t the best. They have a couple sections that are clearly marked for certain items however it isn’t consistent throughout the store.
The store was fairly clean; most items were off the floor and neatly displayed on the shelves.
The layout of the store is intricate but allows room for walking.
The pricing was fair but since they carry older items such as large pieces of furniture and typewriters, the price can tend to be higher.
Antiques on Broadway carries a wide variety of items and continues to get more and more. It’s not just a bunch of stuff you could find in your grandma’s attic – it’s the stuff you find in your grandma’s attic and the stuff you wish she had kept through all her years of hosting rummage sales. Thrifters looking for clothing will be disappointed by Antiques on Broadway’s selection but every other item imaginable is within reach.
Antiques on Broadway’s Score:
- Organization – 3
- Cleanliness – 4
- Price – 3
- Variety – 4.5
- Layout – 4
Overall Score: 3.7
Good for anyone looking for:
- Furniture such as end tables and nightstands
- Something decorative you used to see at your grandma’s house
2. Old and New Store
The organization in Old and New Store hardly exists. The most organized thing I found was the book section. All the books were in one room and were separated by hardcover and paperback, but were otherwise strewn about within their section.
Old and New Store is also very messy. I found corners where items were just thrown in a pile and finding anything was near impossible. It looked like the person who placed the items didn’t care if they broke or not.
The price on items seemed pretty reasonable – all hardcover books were $1 and paperbacks were 50 cents – but some items seemed to be reaching.
While Old and New Store carries many different items, they also advertise items in a potentially misleading fashion.
The layout at Old and New Store is decent; everything is in smaller rooms all connected by one narrow hallway, so navigation can be tricky if more than one person is traveling through the same place at the same time.
Old and New Store’s Score:
- Organization – 1.5
- Cleanliness – 1
- Price – 3.5
- Variety – 3.5
- Layout – 3
Overall Score: 2.5
Good for anyone looking for:
- Cheap books
- Knick knacks
- A chance to dig through old items
3. Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch
The best part about Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch is that it’s organized. They have a room for books, a shelf for dishware and their clothing is all in one spot.
The store is pretty clean, but in some areas – particularly clothing – the store wasn’t as tidy as it could be.
The price at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch is low all-around. The day I visited, they were having a 50 percent off red tag items sale, and many of those items were already priced low.
Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch is great for the clothing-enthusiast thrifter, but it takes up much of the store’s selection. While they also have a fairly large book room, most other sections in the store are small.
The layout of the store is simple – two large rooms and a small book room – and the aisles are of a decent size. But because Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch provides carts for their customers, chance is good you’re going to bump into someone along your journey.
Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch’s Score:
- Organization – 5
- Cleanliness – 3.5
- Price – 4.5
- Variety – 3.5
- Layout – 3.5
Overall Score: 4
For Your Own Personal Thrifting Experience
These thrift store ratings should be taken lightly. As I said from the beginning, “the dig” is the fun of thrifting. Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch may be more organized than Antiques on Broadway but that doesn’t mean you’ll find a Pocahontas clock while thrifting. You just have to be willing to look.
A Travel Guide to Thrifting Downtown
- Start at Antiques on Broadway;
- Drive up Broadway to First Avenue N. and turn left;
- Stop at Old and New Store;
- Drive down First Avenue N. to 10th Street and turn right;
- Turn left on Fourth Avenue N. and stop at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch; and
- Go home with all of your new treasures.
(Edited by Matthew Liedke, MSUM Journalism Major)