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World Thrift Store moves to former Kroger building

Furniture, electronics, clothes, appliances, jewelry and just about anything  one can think of can be found at World Thrift Store in Ironton.

Owner Jay Ferrell recently moved his business from a building at 1901 S. Third St. to its new location in the former Kroger Building at 2125 S. Third St. Grandview Outlet was the last business at this location. The 25,000 square-foot building makes World Thrift Store one of, if not the largest of, its kind in a five-state region.

“We have more inventory arriving daily and we never really know what we are going to get,” Ferrell said. “It got to the point where we had so many items and so many customers, floor space and parking were getting to be real issues.”

In the past 20 years Ferrell has owned his share of businesses — 14 total — and some past endeavors have taken him to Las Vegas.

“I have owned pizza joints, steakhouses, a flea market and other things,” he said. “I even had a sideshow in Las Vegas.”

For several years Ferrell could be found in the Silver Nugget Casino with an alligator, or perhaps a Cuban Banana rat, the biggest of its kind. Eventually, however, he not only found himself back in his hometown, but feels as if he has also found his niche.

“My grandmother owned Third Street Furniture in Ironton,” he said. “I started helping her there in 1981.”

It was a year ago when Ferrell decided to try his hand at the thrift store business. A father of four, he admits knowing it was time to stop traveling and settle in Ironton.

“Everyone kept telling me not to open a shop in Ironton. They urged me to go to Portsmouth or Ashland, Ky.,” he said. “But I not only love Ironton, I believe in Ironton.”

Most items at World Thrift are acquired from estate sales or storage locker auctions. Ferrell also buys from walk-ins.

“I try to help people out. It isn’t easy sometimes, but I try and help everyone,” he said. “I never lose sight of the fact this is my business though. When I help someone by buying something they are offering to sell, it helps them and it helps my business. I don’t buy everything that comes through the door, but I like to collect beautiful things.”

The shop sells more clothes than anything, Ferrell said, but tools and furniture sell well, too.

“I have antique furniture and modern furniture,” he said. “I have brand name clothing for $3 to $5, DVDs, TVs and plenty of good quality but inexpensive household appliances and other electronics.”

The new location is open but Ferrell says he and his two full-time employees are still in the process of getting everything situated. With ample parking, Ferrell said the difference is already noticeable.

“We are drawing people from everywhere,” he said. “People love coming here because they know Ironton has a lot of old furniture. There are a lot of shops that have opened since I have and it shows there is a lot of business to be had in Ironton.”

World Thrift is a buy, sell and trade business that had its official grand opening on Nov. 29.

“The best thing about coming to a thrift store is not knowing what you’ll buy until you see it,” he said. “I’ll guarantee anyone we have something they will buy. Some people come in here and look at everything we have just to find the one thing they are looking for, even if they don’t know what that one thing is.”

World Thrift Store is open from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. seven days a week.