Lil' Thrift offers 'usual needs, unusual wants' in downtown Arlington

Becky and Jeff Phebus are proud to show off their selection of goods at the Lil
Becky and Jeff Phebus are proud to show off their selection of goods at the Lil' Thrift store in downtown Arlington.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

ARLINGTON — Jeff and Becky Phebus brought seven years of experience in the secondhand goods trade to their latest storefront, when they officially opened the Lil' Thrift store in downtown Arlington on Saturday, Feb. 1, and they want their customers to benefit from their knowledge and connections.

"We buy 98 percent of our inventory," Jeff Phebus said. "We're continually buying goods, at least once a week. Our goal is to supply folks with both their usual needs and their unusual wants, while keeping the prices for all of our merchandise at thrift store levels."

The Phebuses have moved into the former location of Fogdog Gallery at 233 N. Olympic Ave., and while their wares range from vintage original movie posters and antique newspapers to household items and movies on VHS and DVD, all of their merchandise is artfully displayed on custom-built shelves and immaculate glass tables.

"My wife, that's her baby," Jeff said of Becky's maintenance of the store space. "She likes to keep it clean, organized and shoppable. You won't find a cluttered environment here, not in the least because we want our store to be easily maneuverable for shoppers with disabilities, whether they're in walkers, wheelchairs or scooters."

One type of item that Lil' Thrift tends not to carry as much of, however, is clothing.

"We donate most of the clothes we receive to local families in need," Jeff Phebus said.

Jeff and Becky's long and winding road to their current storefront, right across the street from the Arlington City Hall, began with estate sales, after Jeff had retired from his job as an internal auditor and Becky had retired from her own position in the courts system.

"We were into storage units before they got hyped up," Jeff Phebus said. "About three years ago, we moved from Florida to be closer to our son here in Arlington. We had a successful location in the Arlington Plaza for a couple of years, but eventually we just needed a larger store."

Lil' Thrift's current location has room enough not only for a big comfy couch in which customers are invited to sit and relax, but also a padded chair next to a shelf for used books that extends nearly to the ceiling.

"This is a family business, and one of the things that we love most is that the people who walk through our doors come from all walks of life," Jeff Phebus said. "You can stop in, say hello, look at the wall and have a conversation about the poster for the Western movie that Whip Wilson starred in."

For more information, call the Phebuses at Lil' Thrift at 360-403-0424.

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