Treasure hunting in the Nutley Thrift Shop

       Nancy Nealis, who works in the Nutley Thrift Shop, displays a fancy dress all ready for another night on the town.
Nancy Nealis, who works in the Nutley Thrift Shop, displays a fancy dress all ready for another night on the town.

NUTLEY, NJ — Looking at the demure front windows of the Nutley Thrift Shop, you may be fooled. There are no glitzy blinking lights or smart tablets set up to let you scan what’s inside the shop. But rest assured, if you are a fan of thrift shops, you have come to the right place. The Nutley Thrift Store isn’t just good, it’s good for you because it offers great deals while also turning your materialistic desires into good deeds.

Run by the nonprofit Nutley Family Services League, an organization that is about to step up and take over the now-defunct Red Cross Food Pantry, this shop filled with one person’s junk is certainly another person’s treasure.

And, when you enter this store, which is like a giant treasure chest, you will never be disappointed, but you will always be delightfully surprised.

Ask Deloris Capalbo, who has worked in the nonprofit Nutley store for almost 50 years. “People come in and find all kinds of things,” Capalbo said. “I came here close to 50 years ago when I was pregnant with my son. There is so much here to appreciate.”

Shoppers who enjoy using recycled goods found in thrift shops are also helping to shrink their carbon footprint — reusing precious goods that might otherwise be wasted or lost to landfills.

But this trendy, unassuming store isn’t just another hobby for millennials. Just as when the store got its start more than 50 years ago when it first opened, The Nutley Thrift Shop continues to pioneer business models.

The Association of Retail Professionals report “resale remains healthy and continues to be one of the fastest growing segments of retail.”

As of today, there are more than 25,000 such resale shops in the United States, and First Research reports that the annual revenues of such stores are more than $16 billion, with Goodwill alone generating more than $5.1 billion.

Of course, there are many other reasons to shop for gently used items here, in addition to the obvious business hook, and the fact that this thrift shop supports wonderful nonprofit endeavors and programs operated by the Nutley Family Service League.

Always, when you decide to shop thrift or vintage, you are on an adventure. Who knows what you may discover? I recently found a colorful stack of tiny espresso cups with matching rainbow-hued saucers. For the other shoppers by my side during a recent visit to the store, the search was on for inexpensive yet high-quality winter coats — I counted seven; sparkly beaded holiday dresses —I saw five; holiday decorations from days gone by — too many to count; designer dresses and suits — more than 25; men’s blazers, which also look fantastic on women with the right accessories; and many high-end pairs of shoes, boots and handbags, not to mention household goods.

If you are a fan of thrift shops, or want to see what they are all about, visit the Nutley Thrift Shop and spend some time treasure hunting.

The shop is located at 172 Chestnut St.