Time Spent At A Local Thrift Shop Turned Into A Life-Changing Investment

All Zach Norris needed was a good eye for treasure and some spare time to find a watch at a local Goodwill that changed his life.

All Zach Norris needed was a good eye for treasure and some spare time to find a watch at a local Goodwill that changed his life. After spending $5.99 on it, Norris turned around and sold it for $35,000. Take a look at his amazing story and the lessons it has.

Zach Norris’ Trip to Goodwill

From: Flickr / Mike Mozart

Norris is a watch collector, but on that day, he visited a Goodwill located in Phoenix, Arizona, to buy a golf pull cart. He decided to check out the watches and found a 1959 Jaeger-LeCoultre diving watch. What makes this ordinary-looking watch so special is that the company only made about 900 of them.

Norris knew how valuable it was and immediately snatched it up at the $5.99 sticker price. He then sold it online to another collector, who paid $35,000 and gave Norris a $4,000 watch as an added bonus. Norris is putting the money towards the cost of his wedding, but he also donated a portion of it back to that Goodwill.

From: Youtube / Zach Norris

Consistency Is Key

According to DailyFinance, there isn’t one conclusive formula for finding valuable items at thrift stores. Each store’s inventory changes frequently as people donate items and customers snatch up the best deals. Luck plays a role in any big find. However, you improve your odds by visiting thrift stores frequently and not being impatient about finding something valuable. Norris kept believing that one day he’d find something, and eventually he did.

Take Advantage of Technology

Smartphones are a vital tool for any thrift shop treasure hunter. As Yahoo mentions, the Internet takes a considerable amount of guesswork out of shopping and helps anyone learn about the value of an item. If you find something that looks valuable, a quick Internet search can reveal important information on the item, and you may even find previous selling prices for it. Norris also recommends taking a phone while shopping, and researching as much as possible.

From: Flickr / Brad.K

Find A Niche

It’s great to be able to research any item on the spot, but there’s only so much time in the day. Focus on learning all you can about a certain type of items, such as clothing, artwork, furniture or fine china. With enough time, you start to understand the value of items in that category without having to pull out your phone. This saves you time, which you can devote to researching other items you find.

If you’re just making a quick trip to the thrift store, you can also take a peek at your section of choice and quickly determine if there’s anything of interest. Norris didn’t go to Goodwill to treasure hunt on his fateful day; he was just running an errand. He checked out watches —his area of expertise — and immediately found something because of his knowledge of that type of item.

Make Connections

With the number of items thrift shops go through every day, it’s impossible to stay on top of everything. One way to stay informed is by connecting with the employees there. This is one time when friendliness pays off. If you’re polite and let employees know the type of items you’re after, they may be able to call or text message you when they see those items in stock. If you do find something valuable, paying it forward is a nice gesture and may make employees want to help you more in the future. Norris paid it forward when he found the watch by donating money back to the same Goodwill where he found it.

Zach Norris is one of many people who found something valuable for a low price at the thrift store. He was certainly not expecting to score such a sweet deal on that day, but his knowledge of rare watches definitely played a role in his success. Get a closer look at this watch in the clip below!