There is a perception that thrift stores are not open on Sunday. There was a time when that perception was more than just a perception, and in some parts of the country, it may be truer than in others. The reasons makes sense once you think about it. Let’s talk about which thrift stores are open on Sunday, which ones aren’t, and why that might be.
Why wouldn’t thrift stores be open on Sunday?
First, let me clarify that I am talking about thrift stores in the United States. The situation may be different in other countries. But there is certainly a clue in what they call these shops in the UK. The UK calls them charity shops.
The religious origins of thrift stores
The two largest thrift store chains in the United States, Goodwill and the Salvation Army, both had their origins in religious organizations. Religious organizations opened shops as part of a charity outreach. Reselling used items at low prices served three charitable purposes. It provided jobs for people in need. It provided an affordable way for people in need to get clothes and other basic necessities. And it raised money for their other charitable work.
The Salvation Army quite literally is a church denomination, although its chain of thrift stores is better known. The word salvation in its name refers very literally to the Christian doctrine of salvation.
This is news to some people. When the Salvation Army purchased a church property near me several years ago, they had to assure the zoning commission and the surrounding neighborhood that they intended to use the property as a church, not as a homeless shelter or a thrift store.
But even if people aren’t aware that the Salvation Army is a church body, they are probably aware their stores aren’t open on Sundays. They may not have been aware why they were closed on Sundays, but once you make that connection, it makes sense that they would close their stores on Sundays.
Goodwill has origins in the Methodist church, although its ties aren’t as deep as those of the Salvation Army. Some would argue it is more of a commercial enterprise now than a religious one. So in many parts of the country, Goodwill stores are open 7 days a week, including Sundays.
Small, independent thrift stores are more likely to be closed on Sunday than, say, Goodwill. The more overtly religious these thrift stores are, more likely they are to be closed on Sunday. If they have a Bible verse in the window, don’t be surprised if they don’t keep Sunday hours.
Local chains with religious sounding names are also less likely to be open on Sunday.
Which thrift stores are open on Sunday?
Savers, Value Village, and Family Thrift Center are examples of thrift store chains that don’t have religious ties. They give some of their profits to charities, not all of them religious. Not that there is anything wrong with that, there’s just little reason for, say, the National Kidney Foundation to have a consensus opinion what day a store should be open or not. So those stores tend to be open on Sunday.
Although it’s not a hard and fast rule, thrift stores that don’t have religious references in their name are more likely to be open seven days a week.
As for thrift stores that sound religious but not Christian, their times of business will vary. A Jewish affiliated thrift store may be closed on Saturday but open on Sunday, for example.
But these are general guidelines, not rules. Always check the hours of any store you are wondering about. But knowing these guidelines can save you some time in your hunt.