Bad economy spells good business for thrift stores

| Print |  Email
Sunday, June 01, 2008

STATEWIDE When money is tight, a shabby pair of pants from the thrift store might fit just right. As food and energy prices soar, some consumers are thinking twice before plunking down $200 for a new pair of jeans and heading instead to thrift stores.

goodwillThrift.jpg
Local Goodwill sales are up 9% and donations have increased.

Tight times for consumers have pushed sales at Goodwill Industries of Columbia Willamette up by 9% in the past year, says spokeswoman Dale Emanuel, and donations have increased 15%.

Thrift stores have long been a fashion statement or a cost-conscious alternative to department stores, but in hard times, thrift and resale shops rise from their humble origins and turn into moneymaking machines. The National Association of Resale and Thrift Shops reports that the industry has been growing at 5% per year.

Most thrift stores are nonprofits. Others, like Arizona-based Buffalo Exchange, are for-profit resale shops. The company has three stores in Oregon and their sales are up 13% from this time last year, says company president Kerstin Block. In 2007, they had nearly $50 million in sales nationwide. Customers can sell their clothes for cash, or trade for store credit. Most of the store’s used clothes are marked down two to three times from the original price.

“If it’s a down economy, typically more people are selling stuff,” says Block. In turn, the company is selling more because it has more product and shoppers.

In business for 34 years, Block knows the cycle of weak and strong economies well. Like clockwork, when it’s going bad it’s good for business, she says.

JASON SHUFFLER




To comment, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
 

More Articles

Old school: Paulsen's Pharmacy maintains old fashion ethos

The Latest
Thursday, December 18, 2014
121914-pharmacy-thumbBY MEGHAN NOLT

VIDEO: Under the radar — complete with a soda counter, the traditional Paulsen's Pharmacy looks to compete with big box retailers.


Read more...

Justice for All

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

Lawger upends the typical hourly based fee model by letting clients determine the cost.


Read more...

Corner Office: Timothy Mitchell

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

A look-in on the life of Norris & Stevens' president, plus an abridged Powerlist for the best commercial real estate firms.


Read more...

Light Moves

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Fittingly, Light at Play — a business whose sole purpose is to create mesmerizing ambience — was conceived at Burning Man.


Read more...

Labor Pains

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Thinking about starting an internship program? Be careful. Navigating unpaid internships can be tricky.


Read more...

That's Not a Watch (This Is a Watch)

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Smartwatches are all the rage. But old-fashioned timepieces keep on ticking.


Read more...

Imperial Palate

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Power Lunch at the Imperial.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS