Thrift stores are a lot of fun. They're kind of like an indoor garage sale (btw, Billings Biggest Garage Sale is 6/27). Obviously, some folks shop at thrift stores to save money. They're great for kids clothing and work clothes. They're also great places for cheap glassware, pots and pans for your college kids or whatever. Other people like to browse thrift stores and "junk shops" for antiques and unique items.

Nationwide, thrift stores are fairly big business. According to this article in the Houston Chronicle, there are around 30,000 thrift shops, antique stores and consignment shops in the US where consumers spend $17 BILLION annually. Who knew?

Billings just got a new thrift shop called Blue Bin Outlet and I swung by their location at the corner of S. 28th St and Minnesota Avenue to check it out. This building was formerly Grannies Attic. Blue Bin is different than other thrift stores in town because they sell their clothing by the pound.

Credit: Michael Foth TSM

And the majority of their items are in... blue bins. Hence the name.

Credit: Michael Foth TSM

I spoke with store representative Catherine Gutierrez, and she said this is the only thrift store designed around the bin concept in the region (MT, SD, ND and ID). They do take donations on site, but prefer you drop off your donations at one of the MRM partner locations, as Blue Bin Outlet does not currently offer the tax deduction slips.

Browsing the store, I wondered how much clothing weighs. Question answered.

Credit: Michael Foth TSM

One kind of odd (unique?) thing I saw at the store was an entire room full of tuxedos for sale. Check this out.

Credit: Michael Foth TSM

Piles and piles of black or white tuxedos, vests, bow ties, etc.

Credit: Michael Foth TSM

Pretty wild. I think the tuxes run about $15 per piece. Most of the other Billings thrift stores seem to offer a lot more household items and it looks like Blue Bin Outlet is still building their inventory of knick-knacky things.

Credit: Michael Foth TSM

Next time you're out searching for thrift store bargains, make sure to swing by Blue Bin Outlet. There are a number of new cool things happening on Minnesota Ave, which is nice to see.