Best Thrift Store: Bargain Barn |

Best Thrift Store: Bargain Barn

Betty Dickey owns Steamboat Springs’ Bargain Barn.
John F. Russell

Betty Dickey owns Steamboat Springs’ Bargain Barn.
John F. Russell

For owner Betty Dickey, opening the Bargain Barn thrift store was a no-brainer.

“I had bought so much stuff at different thrift stores over the years that I had to sell it all,” says Dickey, who opened her store five years ago on Acre Lane and moved to its current location at 2432 Lincoln Ave. in 2014. “When it first opened, everything in the store was mine.”

That changed quickly. As word got out, people started donating their own items, forming today’s far-reaching product line-up that includes mens and women’s clothing, books, household goods, toys, sporting goods and more.

It’s these people — the local donors and buyers — that keep her cheerfully at the counter day in and day out. “The people here are truly incredible,” she says. “And they’re not afraid to come in and say hi and look around. And believe it or not, we also get our fair share of tourists.”

Her top-selling category continues to be women’s clothing, followed by wares for men. “Our aim is to be able to recycle things,” Dickey says. “Everything’s donated, there’s no consignment. We want to put things out there at a price the community can afford.”

Dickey is certainly no stranger to business — or to Steamboat. She’s been in town for 35 years, managing the El Rancho restaurant downtown for 15 years before moving on to stints at the Lowell Whiteman School, Steamboat Springs School District and Doak Walker Center.

As for town’s thrift store environment, she says it’s, well, thriving, despite dropping from its “peak of five or six stores to only three today.”

“But people here are always keeping their eyes out for a good bargain,” she says. “We’re pretty busy, especially with our location now on Highway 40. We get great traffic…a lot of people just stop in when they’re driving by.”

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