Bad economy spells good business for thrift stores

| Print |  Email
Archives - June 2008
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

Back to School

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY CHRIS NOBLE

Oregon is home to an abundance of gritty warehouses reborn as trendy office spaces, as well as crafty hipsters turned entrepreneurs. Does the combination yield an equally bounteous office products sector? Not so much. Occupying the limited desk jockey space are Field Notes, a spinoff of Portland’s Draplin Design Company, and Schuttenworks, known for whittling Apple device stands. For a full complement of keyboard trays, docking stations and mouse pads, check out the GroveMade line, guaranteed to boost the cachet of even the lowliest cubicle drone. 


Read more...

Staffing Challenge

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with Greg Lambert, president of Mid Oregon Personnel Services.


Read more...

Child care challenge

September 2015
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
0927OHSUhealthystarts-thumbBY KIM MOORE AND LINDA BAKER

Child care in Oregon is expensive and hard to find. We delved into the numbers and talked to a few executives and managers about day care costs, accessibility and work-life balance.


Read more...

Greenpeace (temporarily) prevents Shell oil ship from leaving Portland

The Latest
Thursday, July 30, 2015
hangersBY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Greenpeace activists suspended themselves from the St. John's Bridge in an attempt to prevent a ship from heading to the Arctic.


Read more...

Store Bought

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Market of Choice is on a tear. In 2012 the 35-year-old Eugene-based grocery chain opened a central kitchen/distribution center in its hometown. The market opened a third Portland store in the Cedar Mill neighborhood this year; a Bend outpost broke ground in March. A fourth Portland location is slated for the inner southeast “LOCA” development, a mixed-use project featuring condos and retail. Revenues in 2014 were $175 million, a double-digit increase over 2013. CEO Rick Wright discusses growth, market trends and how he keeps new “foodie” grocery clerks happy.


Read more...

Photo log: Murray's Pharmacy

The Latest
Friday, July 17, 2015
OBM-Heppner-Kaplan thumbBY JASON KAPLAN

Photographer Jason Kaplan takes a look at Murray's Pharmacy in Heppner.  The family owned business is run by John and Ann Murray, who were featured in our July/August cover story: 10 Innovators in Rural Health Care.


Read more...

Grain Food

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

A Power Lunch at Bob's Red Mill Whole Grain Store and Restaurant.


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