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Love local: 4 tips to “order takeout” from local reuse retailers

Takeout, take away, da portare via: However you say it, ordering takeout is an idea as old as Ancient Rome. During 2020, takeout food became essential, a survival exchange that kept people fed, employed, and restaurants afloat. Retailers also started offering takeout—offering curbside pickup, even—with all the safety benefits of contactless shopping and physical distancing.

With a few tips, it’s easy to get takeout from local reuse retailers. We’ll show you examples of how to:

  • Follow them
  • Contact them
  • Arrange the pickup
  • Think about the journey

Takeout from local reuse retailers also lets you Love Local—a movement that supports local businesses and keeps the money in the neighborhood. Good news: The Love local movement is working. Shopping reuse is good for the wallet, the local economy, and the environment.

Follow them

To Love Local is to follow retailers online. Many thrift stores rely on social media, websites, and e-newsletters to share the latest arrivals. They often have quick inventory turnover—with surprise items being snapped up faster than you can swipe your phone. Follow them, like them, sign up for newsletters to keep in-the-know and catch the deals.

For instance, Kay Frandsen, founder and owner of The Wabi Sabi Shop, a fine home-furnishings consignment shop in Wayzata, does a brisk business with weekly email blasts. “When we send an email blast Friday afternoon, within an hour we get calls. They’ll ask, ’How much is that blue desk I saw?’ And they buy it over the phone.”

Some reuse retailers are fun to follow not only to get deals but to check out the curiosities. The best place to find out what’s new at The UMN ReUse Center is Facebook, and you won’t be disappointed. Microscope? Check. Fake plant? Check. A thing called The Horizontalator — that really only this video created by creative student staff can do justice? Check. Do you want The Horizontalator? Glad you asked. You’ll need to contact them to schedule a shopping appointment during COVID-19.

Smiling woman looking at her phone

Contact them

To Love Local is to contact them. Message local reuse retailers, send an email, give an old-fashioned phone call to ask about what you saw online and how you can pick it up. They want your business, and they’ll be glad to hear from you.

For instance, Half Price Books in St. Louis Park. They have a solid inventory available at multiple locations, so they’re probably going to have the bestsellers in stock, like the Harry Potter series. (Ring, ring.) Harry Potter? “Why, yes! We do have a used copy of The Chamber of Secrets and will put it on hold for you for pickup.” Extra bonus: You saved money because you paid half the price new, didn’t have shipping costs, supported their business, and—best of all—you helped the environment by not using the resources to make and ship a new one to you.

For the smaller businesses? Love Local goes both ways. They want to hear from you! Didn’t get a reply on the first try? They’re not ghosting you, so try contacting them another way – remember, a lot of small businesses might be understaffed now, or have shorter hours, so help reach out to them when you can.

Arrange the pickup

To Love Local is to perhaps maintain physical distancing as you pick up your purchase. Your local reuse retailers will be glad to see you! Contact them with your order, pre-pay if you can, then go over there for takeout. Many local reuse retailers are even offering curbside pickup now. Yes, curbside pickup.

For instance, Free Geek Twin Cities offers door-to-car service. They have a solid online inventory of used computers, cables, console gaming and Wii games like Lego Star Wars. They don’t offer shipping, but will bring out your purchase for curbside pickup when you schedule an appointment Wednesday through Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

Mill City Sound in Hopkins also has a large music and electronics inventory online. Looking for Taylor Swift on vinyl? Check. Contact them, prepay, and arrange your curbside pickup. You just supported another local reuse business, helped the environment, AND got a new-to-you record. Nice work.

Man in mask handing box through a car window

Think about the journey

When the seasons change, and you feel the urge to declutter, pause. Consider the stuff that cycles in and out of your house. To Love Local is to think about the journey: what it takes to make all the stuff you consume and give away, and the impact your shopping habits have on the economy and the environment.

Try this: Next time you want to shop or declutter, immerse yourself in a combo donation/shopping experience.

For instance, Arc’s Value Village has a pretty slick routine for both shopping online and contactless donations. Message them about any items that you spied on Instagram or were recommended to you by their Virtual Shopping Service. Before you head to the Arc’s, remember to also prep your donations: Pre-sort your items into clothing, housewares, and books (at this time, they are not taking furniture donations). Put your items in your trunk. Remain in your vehicle and they’ll unload your trunk for you to maintain safe physical distancing. Then drive from the back to the front door of Arc’s and ask about your Instagram items.

Woman sorting items into a box at home

Love local—fun and done—with a heightened awareness of your shopping habits. Reach out to your favorite local thrift stores and see what takeout services they’re offering. You can find a directory of local reuse retailers on the Choose to Reuse website.