If you are looking for both consignment and thrift fun, head down Allegheny Avenue in Towson to an old rectory house. It was originally used by the Trinity Episcopal Church which is right next door. The last rector to live there was William Roberts, said shop volunteer director Erin K. Woodward. But now it serves as the home of The Surprise Shop.
Open since 1964, The Surprise Shop gives its visitors exactly that, surprises. Each corner of each room in the house is filled with everything the mind can imagine. Each room is home to a different category from books to men and boys to designer clothes. The bottom floor holds every odd and end imaginable. Full dish sets are on sale as well as books, movies and board games. This floor also has the men and boys room as well as the kids room.
Heading upstairs is the place for the fashionista women. On the top floor, there are three different rooms of women’s clothes. The first is dresses and suits. Here there are all different kinds of suits, nice dresses, and prom dresses. The second room is the casual clothing room which has every type of clothing available. From shirts to pants, everyone can find something for a very reasonable price. The third room, the designer room, is slightly more expensive, but it is full of more upscale labels of clothing.
The store takes both donations and consignments (except large furniture), but the profits made fund the Trinity Episcopal Church’s Outreach Programs. The owners sit at a desk right inside the door and are quick to welcome every visitor and offer advice on where to look inside the shop. It is a good place for the person on a budget. The prices tend to be around $10. It is the place to shop around, get the labels you want, and still learn about the value of money (the stuff your parents didn’t teach you about). The Surprise shop is more like my grandma’s attic, then a boutique, but it is still great because it never stops offering the customer a new find.