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High-end thrift stores support charities

Interior of the Animal Rescue Fund of the

Interior of the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons Inc. Thrift Shop at 17 Montauk Highway in Sagaponack. (Nov. 28, 2012) Credit: Gordon M. Grant

Shopping can be a guilty pleasure for some, but hitting these three high-end thrift stores can give shoppers a feeling of holiday spirit as well as the thrill of the hunt.

That's because these shops, which often have gently worn Jimmy Choo shoes and Prada bags, are in the business of funding their charitable organizations through the proceeds of the shops.

Two of these stores, The Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons Thrift & Treasure Shop and The Retreat Boutique thrift store, are located on the East End, and benefit from castoffs of the wealthy Hamptons crowd. Likewise, the Junior League Thrift Store in Roslyn Village, also receives offerings from affluent donors.

In all three, there is plenty of china and knickknacks -- from dollhouses to paintings. And unusual items, too. The Retreat Boutique once received a donation of about a dozen high-end toilets. The owner of an estate being remodeled in the Hamptons just didn't like them, recalls director Jeffrey Friedman.

Thrift shop aficionados know to visit often -- the good stuff goes fast.


The Retreat Boutique thrift store

2102 Montauk Hwy. at Bridgehampton Commons shopping center, Bridgehampton

INFO 631-537-3845,

HOURS 11 a.m.-6 p.m. daily (closes at 5 p.m. Sundays)

BENEFITS The Retreat, a not-for-profit that provides shelter, counseling and other support for victims of domestic violence

On a recent visit, its shop had designer Dolce & Gabbana shoes for $70 and Manolo Blahniks for $80. A selection of cashmere vintage sweaters was priced $30-$80. There were a number of full-length fur coats and some original artwork, including an Craftsman-style painting for $75. Plenty of housewares, too.

"We have just a whole group of people who come to our shop every week," says Friedman. About 16 percent of the organization's overall budget is derived from sales at the store. "Without the income from the thrift store, we couldn't support our legal advocates, our counselors, our shelter," he says.


Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons Thrift & Treasure Shop

17 Montauk Hwy., Sagaponack

INFO 631-537-3682,

HOURS 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, noon- 4 p.m. Sundays

BENEFITS Its animal shelter

The store is nestled in Sagaponack village -- which happens to have one of the richest ZIP codes in the country, an advantage for this shop's customers.

On a recent visit, merchandise included a range of interesting paintings -- there was an unsigned oil painting of a deer from what is believed to be the Victorian era priced at $550. Elinor Tibbets Van Ingen McDade, a local artist recently deceased, endowed all her animal paintings to the thrift store, with prices starting as low as $50.

There is also lots of furniture, including two 1920-era Berkey & Gay twin wood bed frames for $1,200, as well as oddities that are wonderful finds -- such as three cottage-style antique doors for $900. Other furniture pieces sell for much less. There's plenty of designer clothes, handbags and shoes as well. Up to 20 percent of the organization's operating costs are funded through the thrift store, according to ARF spokeswoman Jamie Berger.


Junior League of Long Island Thrift Store

1395 Old Northern Blvd., Roslyn

INFO 516-621-4890,

HOURS 10 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays

BENEFITS The Junior League, which raises money for charitable projects in the community

Located in Roslyn village, the Junior League Thrift Shop has high-end clothes and housewares.

Thrift store manager Maureen Naughton says she makes sure the clothes are only gently worn or in good enough shape to sell. Valuable items are often appraised before they are priced. Among the finds spotted on a recent visit: A pink Barneys New York dress for $65, Jimmy Choo heels for $45 and a lovely small vintage hat for $20. Also: a Vera Wang dress for $75 and $400 fur coats. For men, there were lots of Brooks Brothers and some Armani finds. The shop has a large housewares department, musical instruments and old records.

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