Sadie Meade has been thrifting since she was old enough to go shopping.

“My parents were smart about money and super frugal,” says Sadie, who is now the UpCycle Ohio Thrift Store Manager. “I grew up thrifting. Most of my belongings have been thrifted.”

Sadie is a Connecticut native who earned her undergraduate degree in painting at the “super small” Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts. When she started looking at graduate programs she was, well, thrifty. She had no desire to exit her college years deeply in debt. So she shopped around.

“I applied to 15 schools or so, looking for whoever could give me the most money,” she says. “Ohio University offered me a full scholarship plus a graduate assistantship.”

Sadie had never been to Ohio before and used Craigslist to rent a “hallway apartment” in Athens unseen. She earned a Master of Fine Arts in printmaking at Ohio University and remained in Athens, where she managed the bar at the now-defunct Corner on Union and worked at the West End Ciderhouse and Distillery.

Then the pandemic hit, leaving her on unemployment. She worked on home improvement projects until she needed something more. That prompted her to start volunteering at the UpCycle Ohio Thrift Store before it had even opened. Once it did, she was hired on as a retail staff associate. After a few months, she was promoted to a supervisor role and is now the manager.

“As a career path this suits me a lot better,” Sadie says. “At the Thrift, I have agency in the workplace, which doesn’t always happen when you are in service work.”

Working in a thrift store has in no way reduced her enthusiasm for thrifting.

“I still thrift in my free time all the time,” Sadie says. “ I have two days off and I’m often making day trips to neighboring towns. It’s my research and development. When I see how other stores are processing inventory, pricing products, and displaying items, it gives me ideas on how we can rearrange our store.”

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