Shopping at ThriftSmart is always fun — looking for bargains on household goods, toys and clothing at this South Nashville thrift store. Books are also a draw since the Nolensville Road store has a particularly good, well-stocked book section.

But super shopper Cindy Kershner kicks her thrift shopping up a notch this time of year as she looks forward to taking advantage of the once-a-year half-off gift card sale that ThriftSmart offers every Dec. 24.

Cindy is poised to buy as many of the half-price gift cards that ThriftSmart will offer on Christmas Eve and is encouraging her friends to do the same.

She wrote some of her church Listserv friends about the deal: “On December 24, ThriftSmart will have their annual one-half price gift cards. You can buy up to five $20 gift cards for $10 each, and you can use them any day (after Christmas).” She added the website so that people could easily join her in taking advantage of the deal:

“I use them to buy things such as children’s books for Book’em, T-shirts for the rugs I make and donate, and backpacks for LP Pencil Box,” she said.

And she noted that you can also pass the gift cards on to other nonprofits. “I know that Room in the Inn uses them for their clients and would think any group working with those in need would appreciate them,” she said.

Wow, what a great way to stretch your giving dollars!

Here are some things to know about ThriftSmart:

The 30,000-square-foot nonprofit thrift store, which has been in business for 16 years, is at 4890 Nolensville Road.

Proceeds from sales at the store benefit four Williamson County-based charities: African Leadership, the Belize Project, Mercy Community Healthcare and New Hope Academy.

In addition, the store’s GiveSmart gift card program has generated another $400,000 in support of area schools, churches and nonprofits. The program is set up so that for every 10 pounds of merchandise that schools and churches collect and donate, ThriftSmart provides a $1 gift card. GiveSmart also allows the store’s 260 partners to buy half-price gift cards for their ministries. ThriftSmart has given back more than $35,000 annually to its community partners through that program.

The store has long been a resource for the local refugee community, as it offered affordable clothing and household goods, as well as programs for people in the neighborhood. Until recently, ThriftSmart offered community English classes and a sewing program for women that is now operated by the nonprofit Servant Group International.

A recent addition is a “refugee tree” to assist Afghan and other refugees moving to Nashville through a partnership with the Nashville International Center for Empowerment. Customers can buy a $20 gift card for the program and receive a $5 gift card for themselves.

To give you an idea of the pricing, clothing in the store starts at 99 cents, and most books are priced 59 cents to $1.99.

ThriftSmart has collected an estimated 10 million pounds of clothing for resale over its 16 years. It now collects more than 140,000 pounds of clothing each month for the store.

ThriftSmart has two trucks that pick up donations in Williamson and Davidson counties and portions of Rutherford County. For free pickup, call the store at 615-833-8200, or go to to find a link to a list of accepted items. ThriftSmart has made more than 25,000 pickups in the three counties. There are also donation bins for drop-offs in the counties.

ThriftSmart’s monthly calendar lets shoppers know what’s on sale each day. Sundays and Mondays are 99-cent days on certain colored tags, Tuesdays are 2/$1 on same tags, and there is a storewide 50% off sale each month. There are 30% off discounts on Wednesdays for seniors, a Thursday 50% off category and 30% off for Smart Rewards customers every Friday.

If you go be sure to sign up for the Smart Rewards program, which gives shoppers 10% off every day on regularly priced items. Card holders get a point when they spend $15 in a single sale (limit one point per day). When they accumulate 10 points, they get $10 off their next purchase. Plus members get 30% off on Fridays.

There is a boutique-like area at the front of the store with higher-end merchandise, including glassware, silver and some designer brands. There is a chance to bid on auction items in the boutique, but the store does not sell merchandise online.

Because the store is a nonprofit, the purchase of clothing and shoes is tax free.

The Christmas Eve sale allows customers to buy five $20 gift cards for $10 each. The cards can be used anytime after Christmas. As store manager Bruce Krapf says, “This becomes the shopper’s own 50% off sale.”

Mary Hance, who has four decades of journalism experience in the Nashville area, writes a weekly Ms. Cheap column. She also appears on Thursdays on “Talk of the Town” on NewsChannel 5. Reach her at and follow her on Facebook at

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