On the other hand? Second hand?

ACES member Ron Martino sheds light on shopping second hand plus how well suited Newburyport and the surrounding communities are for taking on this new trend 

Photo by Onur Bahçıvancılar on Unsplash
Allies and Partners

Editor’s note: This is one in a continuing series of guest opinions about fostering environmental stewardship with an appreciation for our surroundings and the well-being of future generations. The series is coordinated by ACES, the Alliance of Climate and Environmental Stewards.

Because Newburyport has a long history, its attics and cellars still likely hold valuable items from the past. One might get a sampling of those treasures by walking along High St when people have put out “free” signs on old chairs and boxes of books, or tacked up "yard sale” posters on power poles. Or you can head over to Oldies off Water St and tour their informal ever changing tableau of styles.

Whether you are interested in history, home decor, or just saving money while buying local, greater Newburyport is your kind of place.

"In case you haven’t noticed, we are kind of an epicenter of antique, vintage, consignment, and thrift shops."

I’ve no statistics to quote for you but just as an example we have a few in Market Square and more at the Tannery, the Leeward Light and more on Bridge Road Salisbury. Additionally there is Mill77 on Graf Rd, the Todd Farm in Rowley and of course Amesbury has a flourish of them lately too.

In a way they form an underrated economic cluster of second hand businesses that is one more reason people like visiting the area.

Eco-tourism underpins a lot of our economy with whale and bird watchers, boaters, and beach goers coming and then spending time and money in our restaurants and shops. To those aspects of nature tourism, add historic or vintage goods shopping.

Save 15 pounds of green house gasses or more

Environmentally aware visitors know that buying locally sourced second hand items is good for the climate and that if you buy your next item of clothing from a thrift or consignment shop you’ll save over 15 pounds of green house gasses from going into the air.

This is a kind of average number calculated and quoted in various studies that sums up the avoided carbon footprint from growing the fibers or spinning them from fossil fuel, transporting the materials, making cloth and then the clothes and moving them through international supply lines to buyers at retail.

When you buy something previously owned from a cool, maybe quirky shop, you buy something that will prevent a new item from being made and its also providing locals jobs and often charitable contributions.

New generations embracing vintage clothing

Of course everyone loves a bargain at the same time. And now Gen Z is taking that approach too. A recently published statistic say that the highest propensity to seek vintage clothing is among that rising generation with 43 % of them positively inclined to seek out vintage clothing first.

If we want our area to attract a bit of a younger demographic, raising awareness up and down the Merrimack Valley of this array of places to shop will help.

Watching Travels with Rick Steves on TV, he often focuses on the great flea markets of Paris or London as excellent people watching and momento buying opportunities. Maybe a Chronical-type TV feature story could be encouraged for the Chamber of Commerce. It would support our eco-tourism profile and might bring more jobs and prosperity to the City.

Buying ‘used’ has been looked down on at times over the years as something for needy or less style conscious people. Nothing could be father from the truth.

Duchess Meghan Markel Windsor has been shopping vintage for years. The actor Emma Watson, Hermione from the Harry Potter movies, has apps for how to and where to go vintage shopping around London.

"It's now officially cool to buy ‘previously owned’"

And it offers three benefits in one: you’ll look good, save money and help the planet by preventing less carbon dioxide and methane gases going into the atmosphere.

As Autumn approaches many people are rotating their seasonal clothing. It would be a good time to cull your closet and donate or consign items you may no longer want. Then start looking in and around greater Newburyport for something secondhand and fashionably climate-friendly.

Maybe you are helping your new graduate move into a dorm room or their first apartment. Why not offer to shop with them in the area for some complimentary bit of used furniture to get them stated?

The environmental news isn’t always good lately, but you personally really can do something about it. You can buy local and buy secondhand, help the local economy and prevent more greenhouse gasses too.

This column was coordinated by ACES Youth Corps member Caleb Bradshaw. To share any comments or questions, send an email to To learn more about ACES, go to

Related Posts
Ron Martino

After a career in Marketing for science and high tech based corporations, Ron is a member of the Marketing Communications Team of the Alliance of Climate and Environmental Stewards (ACES) where he often focuses on our communication strategies both in traditional and social media.

about the co-authors
No items found.
Related Initiatives