Nanaimo Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store / Image Via Sabrina Mudryk

Thrifting is an economical, eco friendly, and increasingly trendy (not to mention fun) shopping experience. However, when my friends ask if I would like to go thrift shopping in Nanaimo, we often end up at Value Village.

There is nothing wrong with Value Village—it has a large store format and plenty of options to shop from whether it be shoes, clothes, or copious Nora Roberts novels. Value Village is far from the only thrift store in Nanaimo, though.

In this article, I am going to take you through three other thrift stores that I tend to have luck in finding things at.


Vancouver Island Thrift Store

The Vancouver Island Thrift Store is on Bowen road (1585 Bowen Rd Unit 1). This location has the common thrift-store-musk and is on the smaller end, but is packed full with options. There are games, cards, shoes, books, kitchen supplies, jewelry, so many women’s clothing options, and a few aisles of men’s clothes.

If you plan on shopping here, be prepared to spend at least an hour sorting through the stacks. Don’t expect to find what you want on your first day, but trust me when I say your patience is often worth it.

My three favourite pairs of quality and affordable jeans are from the Vancouver Island Thrift Store. I have also found really cute tablecloths and the store is my go-to place when I break a whisk.

The prices range depending on the clothing brand, as many thrift stores do. At times, I have found some Levi’s jeans to be a little too expensive for their stretch and wear, but the prices are quite reasonable, overall.


Nanaimo Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store

Although this store has less clothing options, there’s often some form of sale going on.

The store has a cute book nook and usually carries paintings, aesthetically pleasing kitchen items, and holiday trinkets. I recently purchased the cutest Santa soap dispenser here that I can’t wait to put in my bathroom for the holiday season.

The prices are some of the cheapest I have seen for a thrift store, with proceeds at the Auxiliary going towards improving care and patient comfort at the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.


Hospice Shoppe

Finally, my favourite thrift store through COVID-19: the Hospice Shoppe, located a few minutes drive from Northfield Road (1925 Bowen Rd). This store has a fairly large layout with many sections and aisles to meet your thrifting needs. It is reminiscent of IKEA—filled with affordable, good quality items, but also a bit of a maze to navigate.

This store has CDs for days, tapes, plenty of women’s clothes, a sizeable men’s section, all the knickknacks you could want, holiday items, and so many jackets. I bought my favourite 80s style jacket here for $15 and I wear it almost every single day.

I also bought a mystery mixtape that turned out to be filled with the heaviest of metal music that I will continue to try to give to members of my family for Christmas and birthdays. The Hospice Shoppe also has amazing deals going on fairly frequently, so keep an eye out. 

All in all, I would recommend the Vancouver Island Thrift Store for extensive clothing options, the Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store for a wide variety of items at low prices, and the Hospice Shoppe for a maze of neat, cheap and quality items. Happy thrifting!


Sabrina is a fifth-year Psychology and Creative Writing student. Her poem "They Are Waiting" won last year's Portent Prize and was featured in Portal's 2021 Magazine. She loves exploring Vancouver Island, telling people about the UFO Landing Pad in her hometown, and is a wannabe free diver. In her last year of schooling she has realized just how much potential there is in being a student at VIU.

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