Are you in the market for a pair of used antlers? How about a polyester rhinestone gown? Thrift stores of Ronan, MT

July 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

Along US Highway 93 heading from Charlo to Polson there’s an edifice of peeling white paint with an array of used appliances glimmering out front.  This is home of the “White Elephant 2nd Hand Store” in Ronan, MT.  Having always wanted to see what its inner sanctum held (and harboring a longtime dream to own a junk store just like it), I popped in to browse while my relations dropped off a broken screen at the Hanson & Granley hardware store (across from the Ace, which no self-respecting local frequents, to hear tell.)  I had envisioned the While Elephant carrying row after row of pristine fancy cowboy shirts embroidered with cows, horseshoes, eagles, dice, or, I dunno, blue herons or something.  What I found instead was a giant selection of animal pelts, antlers, farm implements, and combat boots.

Antlers, farm tools at White Elephant 2nd Hand Store in Ronan, MT

Animal pelts! at White Elephant 2nd Hand Store in Ronan, MT

Over on the other side of the store, they did sport the traditional inventory of vintage glass, musical instruments, and oddly, ziplock bags full of quilting fabric scraps.

Vintage glass at White Elephant 2nd Hand Store in Ronan, MT

And while they had a nice selection of beaded Native American jewelry (the whole area is smack dab in the middle of the Salish Kootenai reservation), they carried not a single cowboy shirt.  Among other things, White Elephant is also a pawn shop, and it seems to do a fairly brisk business despite its remote rural location.  While browsing, I witnessed not a few customers swapping stuff for cash and vice versa.

Heading into town yielded a gem of a shop called Twice But Nice Discount Store.  They had a sizable vintage collection, dresses going for $8-9, on sale for 50% off!  I found some groovy selections, such as this plaid maxi dress with a yarn-fringe slit up the front:

R&K Originals vintage plaid maxi dress at Twice But Nice in Ronan, MT R&K Originals vintage plaid maxi dress at Twice But Nice in Ronan, MT R&K Originals vintage plaid maxi dress at Twice But Nice in Ronan, MT R&K Originals vintage plaid maxi dress at Twice But Nice in Ronan, MT

And this glamorous gown in turquoise polyester with cowl-style mock turtleneck and rhinestone-studded eyelet along the collar-bones:

JC Penney Fashions turquoise rhinestone gown at Twice But Nice in Ronan, MT JC Penney Fashions turquoise rhinestone gown at Twice But Nice in Ronan, MT JC Penney Fashions turquoise rhinestone gown at Twice But Nice in Ronan, MT

I did pick up for myself an Emma Peel-style blue wool dress.  As soon as the NYC temp dips back below 90, I might actually try it on to see if it fits.

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