Exploring thrift stores in Modesto, CA – a tour down McHenry Avenue

I know I’ve become a small-town mouse because a trip to Modesto is a big city excursion for me. As much as I love shopping around the thrift stores near me, I also like to venture out of my tiny nook in the Central Valley to explore secondhand shops. I typically visit Mad Monk Vintage and the Goodwill on Sisk Road when I head up to Modesto, but this past weekend, I toured down McHenry Avenue to hit up a bunch of different thrift stores with my parents. 

Since moving down to the Central Valley, I’ve been down to Modesto somewhere between 10 to 15 times. I can’t say that I’ve explored it very much – I’ve mostly ran errands around the big-box stores and secondhand shops in the northwestern edge of the city along State Route 99. Like my neck of the woods, the city is flat and dry. There are substantially more stores around, but sprawl spreads everything out.

During this trip, we explored more of central Modesto, specifically scouting the secondhand shops strewn along McHenry Avenue. We hit up Goodwill, Hope Chest, Good Samaritan Thrift Store, and Priceless Treasures. There are almost certainly more thrift stores in Modesto, but these were the ones we hit up. I didn’t buy much, just a few tchotchkes here and there. Still, I returned home bone tired — everything in Modesto is huge, even these rinky-dink secondhand shops! 

Finding thrift deals at Goodwill Modesto 

At Goodwill, we waved hello to one of the employees who used to work in our town before he moved to a full-time position in Modesto. The store is definitely bigger, although I can’t say that there are any more treasures there than at our local branch. Still, I appreciated the fact that Goodwill prices all over the San Joaquin Valley are standardized, so you can find amazing steals. 

For my burgeoning dog decor collection, I bought a cute $4.79 dog figurine with long lashes and a blue ribbon collar. I also picked up a Linda Ronstadt cassette (her greatest hits collection) that I’d been eyeing on eBay. Instead of paying $10, I only paid a quarter. That’s basically a 97% discount!

Fairy style candle holder
Cute $7 fairy-style teapot light holder that I did not buy.

Browsing the Good Samaritan Thrift Store in Modesto

There’s definitely a church vibe at the Good Samaritan Thrift Store – the cashier wished customers “a blessed day,” and Christian rock played softly over the speakers. The religious ambiance aside, the store is packed to the brim, which almost made it feel a bit confining. If you’re patient enough, though, there are certainly hidden gems, especially when it comes to decor and clothes. Mom found two Victorian concrete candle holders. I almost picked up a fairy-style candle holder but decided to leave it behind. 

Discovering priceless treasures at Priceless Treasures 

Priceless Treasures just might be one of my new favorite thrift stops. They have beautiful home decor for decent prices, as well as a huge clothes selection. Everything is densely packed, but the store is brightly lit and the prices are clearly labeled. It’s replete with vintage charm, packed with cottage animal figurines, fancy upholstered chairs, and Victorian-style lamps. Because of its great prices and beautifully curated collection, it reminds me a little bit of Goodwill on West San Carlos Street in San Jose. I only grabbed a cozy mystery and plastic pearl necklace there, spending a grand total of $5. Still, I’d love to come back in a few months. 

Exploring the biggest Hope Chest I’d ever been in

The Hope Chest store on McHenry Avenue is gigantic, hidden behind an Audi dealership. The Hope Chest near me is small and modest, but I find great deals there nonetheless. Frankly, I found the Modesto store a bit overwhelming. This time of year, there’s a huge display of Christmas decor as you walk in, including shelves lined with $2 bags of ornaments. As you walk further in, there’s a media section with shelves upon shelves of DVDs and multiple TV displays – it almost feels like you’re at the electronics department at Target. 

Way in the back, there’s a whole separate room dedicated to books and tableware. I wish I had the time to sift through the book selection because there’s virtually a mini library in there. Overwhelmed by my choices, I left with a $1 pup ornament to decorate my mini Christmas tree. 

I can’t believe that we spent a whopping five hours browsing thrift shops in Modesto. Who says there’s nothing fun to do there? 


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