Patagonia lovers, rejoice. The Community Closet’s annual Patagonia sale starts Saturday. And this year’s sale is bigger and better than ever before.
“We save all the Patagonia items that are donated throughout the year for the February sale and this year we collected 50 boxes,” said Caron Cooper, president and CEO of the Community Closet, adding that the thrift stories spreading the sale out over the four Saturdays in February.
“Each Saturday we’ll put out the new contents of 10 to 12 boxes – about 100 pieces,” Cooper said.
The vast – and colorful – inventory includes Patagonia’s coveted Synchilla fleece and trademarked Capilene long underwear, organic cotton and hemp shirts, shorts and skirts and pants, jackets for all four seasons, and lots of kids’ clothes. If so inspired, shoppers could feasibly dress from head to toe in Patagonia, from the hats on their heads to the socks on their feet.
Although most of the items are gently used, Cooper said, “Some of them are brand new. They still have the original price tags on them.”
The idea for the sale came years ago when Cooper noticed that used Patagonia gear never stayed on the racks for long, Cooper said.
The company’s fair-trade clothes are utilitarian and well made, with everything from better zippers to warmer down, and never seem to go out of style. Even the older, now “vintage” pieces hold their value.
“Their stuff holds up,” one person wrote on an online forum. “Patagooch stuff lasts and lasts,” wrote another, referring to the company’s enduring nickname, “Patagucci.”
Conscientious consumers also like that Patagonia puts a premium on environmental responsibility, using organic fibers and recycled polyester, less water in production and minimal packaging, according to the company’s website (www.patagonia.com). It goes a step further by dedicating a percentage of annual sales to helping grassroots environmental groups save the planet’s wild and beautiful places. And it ensures working conditions for everyone in the supply chain are safe, fair, legal and humane.
All of this comes at a price. A brand-new Patagonia down jacket retails for hundreds of dollars. Patagonia fishing shirts start at $79.
But the Community Closet’s Patagonia sale puts it within reach. Even at five times the typical thrift-store prices, a gently used Patagonia jacket is still just $25. A fishing shirt is $12.50. And that’s a screaming deal.
“Everyone loves a bargain,” Cooper said. “Plus the sale helps the Community Closet generate more revenue, which goes back into the community.”
‘DO YOU NEED IT OR ARE YOU JUST BORED?’
There’s another reason why Patagonia gets a sort of star-status at the store. The company, founded by Yvon Chouinard in 1973 in California, preaches the same sort of intelligent consumerism that the Community Closet does.
“Deep in Patagonia’s embrace of profitable good is the idea people should think about consumption and its impact,” according to the website. “The company created the Common Threads Partnership to encourage people to keep their stuff out of landfills by pledging to buy only what they need, repair what breaks, reuse what they no longer need and recycle everything else.”
Or, to put it another way: “We ask our customers to think twice before you buy a jacket from us, Chouinard said in 2014. “Do you need it, or are you just bored?”
For the Community Closet, this philosophy is summed up in the store’s motto: “Reuse, Recycle, Reinvest.”
“We know that gently used items have value and should not be so easily disposable,” Cooper said. “And we’ve proven that it’s possible to sell those items at a low cost and then turn around and reinvest what we earn in the community where we live.
“This business model keeps items out of the landfill – to the tune of a quarter of a million tons since the thrift store opened in 2005 – and ensures that everyone can afford quality clothes for themselves and their families,” she said.
That’s not to mention that thrift-store shopping can also be a wonderfully rewarding treasure hunt.
PRICES & TIMING
In a three-fold effort to appeal to the bargain hunters, generate revenue, and honor those who donate high-value items, the prices for Patagonia Sale items are five times the cost of regular thrift-store clothes.
“We so appreciate when our donors bring in Patagonia products,” Cooper said. “And we know that when people donate an item of value, they like to know that it is being sold for premium thrift-store price and that the money goes back into the community.”
Here are a few examples of how that works (with the range of Patagonia’s retail prices, too):
A shirt normally priced at $2 is $10 (compared to $29-$65 retail)
Pants, normally $2.50, are $12.50 ($69 to $119 retail)
A men’s Patagonia button-down shirt, regularly $2.50, is $12.50; ($55-$99 retail)
Women’s dresses, normally $3, are $15 ($65-75
All kids’ items will be $5 (normal price $1)
The sale dates are Feb. 6, 13, 20 and 27. The Closet staff will roll out the racks at noon, after the half-off sale ends.
To add a little more enticement, Cooper said, “We’ll also have Patagonia items in the Alley Annex, things that have little things wrong with them, small holes or a missing button.”
And – get this – those items will be $1 apiece on Saturdays, 25 cents on Sundays.
Truth is, you’re unlikely to find these prices and selection anywhere else in Montana. Plus, it’ll be fun.