By Rieva Lesonsky
This past weekend I spent a good deal of time at my local Goodwill store, playing chauffeur for my friend’s 15-year-old daughter as she shopped for “fun” clothes for a neighborhood block party. She’s not alone-thrift store shopping is on the rise as millions of Americans seek a cheaper source of clothing, accessories and household items, making resale stores a great entrepreneurial opportunity.
In fact, a recent article in USA Todayinterviewed Adele Meyer, the executive director of The Association of Resale Professionals, who says resale shops are thriving, and new ones are opening across the country. According to Meyer the number of resale stores has grown 7 percent in the last year.
USA Today also talked to Britt Beemer, the founder and chairman of America’s Research Group, who says about 20 percent of consumers are thrift store regulars, which is up from 14 percent before the Great Recession started.
I first noticed this trend several years ago when Millennials started haunting resale shops in order to “waste not” and recycle their wardrobes. In fact, lots of teens consider it a badge of honor to buy resale clothing because of its “greenness.” Emphasizing the green aspect of resale gives it legs far beyond an economy in recession or recovery, especially for younger consumers.
Thrift stores operate in different ways. You can pay outright for merchandise when people bring it to your shop, or you can take items on consignment, splitting the revenue with the original owner of the goods.
Consider who lives in your area and what their motivations for thrifting are when deciding what kind of merchandise you want to stock in your store. If there are a lot of families nearby, you’ll want to stock up on children’s clothing and furniture. Have a lot of teens in your area? They are more motivated by fashion trends and the desire to show off their individuality. Vintage is hot for this market, so stock your shop accordingly.
If you’re interested, The Association of Resale Professionals has a guide to help you get started in this business.