OC Bargain-Hunters Score Thrifty Deals

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Everything old is new again.

They stop by in between classes, fondling the denim and silk, looking for a bargain. Students at Chapman University are shopping at a second-hand store that comes to them twice a week.

The tented store sells jeans for $6 and sweaters for $4, all in the name of charity. It's run by Casa Teresa, a shelter for pregnant homeless women. All the clothing is donated by other resale stores.

And it's not just Casa Teresa, which clears about $4,000 a month at the kiosk. Goodwill has seen its annual sales grow to $32 million in Orange County.

For deal hunters who can't make it into a brick-and-mortar location, shopgoodwill.com has more than 10,000 listings.

Plus, armed with some thrifty pointers, Goodwill shoppers can scoop up quite a few bargains:

Stop in frequently since most shops have a constant turnover of merchandise.

Talk to sales staff and find out which days new merchandise is put out for sale. That way, you'll get the first opportunity to get the best merchandise. Many Goodwills put out new merchandise daily, so serious shoppers may want to stop in on a regular basis to find out what's new.

Introduce yourself to the staff, and ask them about items you're looking for or what they would suggest as a good buy. Establish yourself as a regular customer and the staff may even call you to let you know when certain items arrive in the store.

Find out store policies on markdowns, holds and the methods of payment your Goodwill accepts. If policies aren't posted, ask the sales staff about them.

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