Thrift Store Heroes: Dedicated Shopper Applies Lessons From Bodybuilding To Goodwill Purchases

After Judy completed her first bodybuilding competition in 2010, she was hooked. Since then, she’s participated in several additional shows, earned a Masters Figure pro card with the World Natural Bodybuilding Federation and adheres to a three-day-a-week training regimen.

Like her first bodybuilding experience, one shopping trip to Goodwill was all it took for Judy to become a loyal customer. Today she is a member of the Goodwill Club, the customer loyalty program, making at least monthly shopping trips to the State Road Goodwill store.

Much of Judy’s wardrobe is secondhand and from Goodwill. She says purchasing secondhand is like letting someone else pay the depreciation on a new car. Once a piece has been worn once, it’s used – something Judy says she’ll happily purchase and take good care of after the original owner.



She never sets out to find specific things on her shopping trips – things just have a way of finding her, she jokes. She goes in knowing she will find something, because she always does. She just doesn’t know exactly what she will find – the mystery, she says, is what makes it so much fun. And every now and then, she rewards herself for meeting her short-term bodybuilding goals with Goodwill shopping sprees.

Little changes yield big results
Judy claims her favorite part of bodybuilding training is the results. Maybe that’s why Judy has applied this ‘keen eye’ for accomplishment to her fashion sense, ‘customizing’ outfits to yield beautiful pieces that fit her taste and style. One dress in particular, which she purchased for her son’s wedding, received a little extra attention.

She initially purchased the dress, which came with a wrap, and took it to Tanya, her seamstress of 10 years. After some thought, it was decided it would be a little too much work, so Judy donated it back to Goodwill, but kept the wrap. She later found another dress that she wanted to modify, but had an idea which required fabric from the original dress. Luckily, when she returned to the store, she happily found it on the mannequin and purchased it a second time. Tanya used fabric from that dress for embellishments on the second dress and created a masterpiece for Judy to showcase on her son’s special day.

Another one of Judy’s favorite purchases was a dress she bought for her son and daughter-in-law’s wedding rehearsal dinner. She wanted to look especially nice for it since she and her husband were the hosts. She put her own spin on it by switching the ribbon with one that matched their wedding colors – and her husband’s tie.



Most of the other pieces she purchased, Judy says, have just required simple tailoring. But that alone, Judy says, yields amazing results. To date, Judy’s seamstress has tailored so many pieces for her that when asked how many, she could only respond with “a lot!”



~ Kim Rohr