The bus was full with 59 women and one gentleman on a mission — to find hidden treasures at local resale stores.
The Happy Thrifter hosted The Ultimate Resale Shopping Bus Tour on March 7 throughout Sarasota. A couple times a month, tour guide Patti Clark works with local resale, consignment and thrift stores to come up with a route for the 60 shoppers on the bus to shop all day. These tours take place within a 100-mile radius from Palmetto to Naples.
The Sarasota tour sold out to 60 retail queens and one king, as the shoppers are called. The kings and queens receive a bracelet when they get on the bus so everyone knows who is part of the tour when shopping the stores.
The stops are a mystery — guests don’t know where they’re headed next until they get back on the bus. The stops on the March 7 Sarasota tour were Fabulous Finds at the Pines of Sarasota, Sarasota Architectural Salvage, Designing Women Boutique and The Women’s Exchange.
Returning shoppers have started bringing suitcases onto the bus to hold all their treasures. In all, Clark says the group spends about $2,000 total per stop for a final amount of $10,000 at the end of one bus tour.
Clark’s most bizarre thrifting moment was when she bought a yellow duck backpack. She purchased it as a gift, but it never got to its receiver. Instead, it sat in her garage for two years. When she opened it years later, she was surprised to find an envelope inside with $2,000.
So, if you seek your own thrift treasure, there are two tours left for the season, one in Englewood April 11 and the other in Fort Myers on May 16. Call 816-352-0975.